A couple of weeks ago I found myself in WH Smith perusing their book aisles. I was about to go into hospital for my foot operation and I had grand visions of reading my book and recuperating at home. Then chickenpox hit the household and that idea went straight out of the window. It was only over the bank holiday weekend that I was finally able to get stuck into He Said She Said by Erin Kelly. Let’s just say that I devoured the book in less than 24 hours.
Who To Believe?
As you start to read the book you think this is going to be a simple case of he said/she said over the alleged rape of Beth Taylor. The story is told from the perspectives of the young couple Laura and Kit who have travelled all of the way to Cornwall to watch the 1999 eclipse of the sun. However, the main event is overshadowed by what Laura and Kit stumble upon, a couple having sex or is it rape? They end up testifying in court and 16 years later the couple are still reeling from that day and the decisions they took.
Look at the Criminal Justice System and the statistics are not very comforting. Out of 1000 rapes, 994 perpetrators will walk free. Rape can be very difficult to prove and, as the victim Beth says in the novel, the victims often liken the trial to being “raped all over again” . As the novel progresses we see how being witness to the alleged rape of Beth has impacted on Kit and Laura. They are now both living in fear of their lives as Beth has apparently become obsessed with them and appears to be stalking them. As a result they have both changed their identities and make sure they leave no social media footprint, or that’s what Laura believes. It turns out that Kit has been a little economical with the truth. However, at first we assume that this is because he is protecting Laura who is now crippled by anxiety thanks to the court case and the subsequent fall out with Beth.
A Tangled Web
Let’s just say that this book is a nasty tangled web of lies and, as the reader, you soon realise that you can’t trust anyone, not even the narrators who are holding back information to protect themselves. You just know that the book isn’t going to end well and as the story progresses the sense of impending doom is ramped up. I found it almost dizzying at times, my belief and sympathies swinging like a pendulum. Who did I believe? Who did I have sympathy for? It changed almost page by page. You start reading this book thinking that Beth is the victim of a crime but as you finish the novel your realise that the real victim is Laura.
This is not a book for the fainthearted. It does make for uncomfortable reading at times but it will grip you and you won’t be able to stop reading it until you have reached the end. There is a twist that is so startling it will leave you feeling robbed. Often the plot twist is recognisable a mile away. This was not the case with this novel. Kelly is a master at tricking and twisting us.
I don’t want to say too much for fear of giving the ending away. However, read this book and you won’t be disappointed. It’s a gripping read and at times feels like a sickening rollercoaster. Hold on tight because you won’t be able to get off until you have finished the novel.
You can buy He Said She Said from Amazon.co.uk for £3.99