New Book – The Fall by Claire McGowan


First published: 2012

The prologue of this book takes place on a Monday, and there is a woman in some public toilets who has been attacked, or at least, she is hurt and bleeding in the mouth.

Then the action takes us back three days before. We get to meet Keisha and Charlotte. Keisha is a young mixed-race woman who is in a relationship with Chris. They have a little girl, Ruby, who has taken after her grandmother Mercy, so she is black. Social services have been involved for a while after Chris beat Ruby and left her arm in a cast. Now Ruby lives with her grandmother, but instead of leaving the man who hurt her little girl, Keisha stills sticks with him even though he treats her like rubbish.

Then there is Charlotte, who is to be married in a week. Her fiancé is Dan, who makes a lot of money as some kind of bank adviser or investor. However, that night Dan doesn’t have good news. His bank is about to collapse and he might lose his job.

It is at this point that the different characters emerge. Chris tells Keisha they have to go to a night club in Candem where he has some business to deal with. Keisha admits to having stopped asking Chris about his business deals because I imagine that they are hardly legal. At the same time, Dan and Charlotte decide to go to the same club, and Dan offers Charlotte some cocaine which she takes even though it is not her habit.

In the club there is first a silent confrontation between Charlotte and Keisha. In the toilets there is a toilet attendant, and Keisha is enraged when there is no soap, which means she has to pay for it to the toilet attendant. Keisha is quite abusive in her language, and she gets even angrier when Charlotte gives the attendant five pounds.

When Charlotte leaves the toilets, she sees Dan shouting at a man because his credit card is not working, and then he and the man go to the man’s office. Then the next morning the police come and arrest Dan for the murder of this man, whose name is Anthony Johnson. At the police station Dan admits to having punched him but he was right when he left. It doesn’t help that the two women who were with Anthony, his sister and his mistress, identify Dan, and Dan also admits that he was drinking a beer when he stepped into the man’s office, and that is the weapon which killed Anthony. His neck was slashed with a broken beer bottle.

At the same time we know that Keisha was left alone in the club and she had to return to her flat alone. There Chris was already in bed and told her that she had felt sick and that was why he had left her there. In the flat she saw his clothes in a black bin bag, and the bathroom floor was wet after his shower. The following day she sees that the bath mat and his shoes are stained, and not of ketchup as he claimed, but she recognises blood. Is Chris the murderer? It seems so. I wonder what happened at the club and why in the prologue a woman was lying hurt on the toilet floor. Who is the woman? Keisha or Charlotte? And is Dan innocent?

Very interesting start!!!


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