RATING: VERY GOOD
I have to say that I didn’t expect the direction that the novel took after the matter with Constance finished. Poor Karl hits rock bottom, and his hatred and fury soar as Amanda’s life glows with success after success.
One event that marks Karl is when a thug attacks him to rob him, and in the confrontation the man slashes his face, so Karl is left with an ugly scar and his mouth becomes a jagged shape. Then he decides to change his looks completely. He dyes his hair black and starts wearing blue-tinted glasses, and his friend from jail gets him some fake documents, so his name becomes Ben Carroll. Around this time he gets some money when Lar Richardson, his ex-boss and Amanda’s husband, settles some compensation for Karl’s dismissal. So he is able to rent a flat, and then he starts drawing in the streets. The drawings are the characters that he made up in prison.
As luck will have it, Amanda and her son Marcus see Karl, who Amanda doesn’t recognise. She is impressed by his drawings and convince him that he could make good money, and she is ready to help him. So from then on Karl gets a book published with his characters, which he calls Plinks, and he even has a show on television.
During all this time, Karl is planning how to get his own back. He travels to America to see Seline, and there he goes under the knife and the doctors remove the scar and repair his face. He also sheds the tinted glasses and stops dying his hair.
After the first years of contentment with her husband, Amanda gets bored and starts a torrid affair with Eric, who also works for Lar’s television channel. Then Karl strikes when he abducts Marcus, Amanda’s son. From the first moment I knew that he wouldn’t hurt the boy, and what he does is make her feel what he did during the ordeal with Constance.
The first taste she gets is when the press start questioning why it took her almost two hours to reach the school when Amanda was told that Marcus had vanished. Actually, Amanda was with Eric and changed her plans to pick up her son. Little by little the press makes her their objective. Amanda’s lies are uncovered and the press hints that Amanda and Eric seem to be closer than they should. This reaches Lar, who believes that his wife is cheating on him. The press accuses her of neglecting her son, and through an anonymous call the police are told that there is a link between Marcus’s and Constance’s disappearances, and Amanda get information through someone in the gardai. Amanda denies everything, but her mistake is to agree to see Hunter one night, and the press photographs them together.
Amanda then realises that the person behind Marcus’s abduction is Karl, and she even guesses that Ben and Karl are one and the same. She keeps saying this to Lar, who disregards her words. She knows that whatever happens, it will take seven days as this is the length of time that Karl and his family went through before Constance’s body was discovered. On the seventh day Amanda persuades the police to check the house and the water deposit where Constance’s body was found. They discover that what used to be an abandoned house is now in perfect state and belongs to Ben Carroll. And when they drain the water deposit, there is something there, and to Amanda’s relief what they retrieve is a hoody filled with horsehair.
That same day a woman calls. Karl, disguised as super Plink, the character that made him famous, takes Marcus to the launch of his last book. Actually, Marcus, who is a very imaginative boy, has believed all these days that he had been with super Plink and lived in his world. After the book launch, Karl disappears, and Marcus, who Karl has asked to follow his instructions, approaches a woman who he tells to call his mother. So Amanda is finally reunited with her son.
After Marcus returns to his family, Amanda keeps insisting that the man behind Marcus’s disappearance is Marcus, but nobody believes her as there is nothing that proves that Karl and Ben Carroll are the same person. Then the costume that Karl wore as super Plink is found floating against some rocks, and the police assume that Ben Carroll either has drowned or killed himself, but there is no evidence he is dead.
And then Karl collars Amanda, who repeats her accusations, but Karl is not scared. Actually, he tells her that he has voluntarily gone to the police station already after rumours of her accusations reached him, but the police had to let him go after the questioning. Amanda is furious while Karl is all calmness. I don’t condone what he has done, but what Amanda did to him showed how ruthless the press can be, not caring about the people in those stories. We learn that Karl is leaving for the United States and plans to stay there for a while. Amanda swears she won’t forget what he has done, but I know that even swearing she will get justice, she already knows that she has lost.
I loved the book. It was quite different to what I thought it would be. It is quite dark and intriguing from the very first moment, and you can hardly put it down.