Shadow of Doubt, S.L. Beaumont
I will admit to having been a bit of a Brexit junkie, addicted to the podcast Brexitcast from the BBC, which meant SHADOW OF DOUBT arrived at a particularly pertinent time, set as it is in the time of Brexit, with a very interesting central premise - would the overwhelming Remain vote in Scotland push people there to an IRA like terror campaign in England.
Starting out in London, against the backdrop of big international banks, trading floors and highly specialised financial departments, there's a real sense of the friendship that close working partnerships build, that becomes something more when tragedy strikes. The corporate world of work hard / play hard with company preferred drinking holes, little laneways and dark, shadowy pubs is well depicted, and the sense of hubbub of corporate London was good. The tension switches from the pressures of work and a distant husband / home life, when a terrorist bomb is set off one evening. Central character Jessica is caught up in the bombing aftermath, then her beloved father dies, all the while her husband is absent emotionally and physically as she turns to a new work colleague for support and understanding.
When Jessica's father leaves her the key to a safe deposit box, all sorts of things start to fall into place. Husband Colin's odd work practices, her colleagues sudden involvement in her life, the bombing, the banking world, everything starts twisting together as Jessica follows the well hidden trail of clues her father left for her.
SHADOW OF DOUBT has a hefty dose of personal and romantic angst in it, and there were times when it was really hard not to want to talk some sense into a very put-upon, somewhat naive Jessica but they were fleeting, and overall SHADOW OF DOUBT is a twisty page turner of a thriller, with lots of menace. The romantic angst is not overblown, and actually quite understandable, although you do have to wonder how it is that Jessica and Colin's marriage was so devoid of curiosity. The topicality of the plot lines was well handled, and for a reader far from the Brexit action, but mildly obsessed, felt quite believable.
How well do you know those closest to you?
Jessica McDonald appears to have it all: a successful London banking career, a happy marriage, and good friends.
Then a terrorist bombing rocks London in the wake of the Brexit referendum.
She narrowly escapes injury and tends to others wounded at the scene, too shocked to process what has happened. Lacking support from her husband in the aftermath, she turns to her new work colleague Will Johnston for comfort, setting her personal and professional lives on a collision course with unforeseen and explosive consequences.
Jessica barely has time to recover before another tragedy hits: her beloved father suddenly dies of a heart attack in Edinburgh, and she rushes to her mother’s side to comfort her.
Waiting for Jessica in her father’s personal effects are instructions in code and the key to a safety deposit box. As she follows the clues her father left behind, Jessica uncovers secrets that will upend the foundations of her life—and put her in grave danger.
Forced from her home and job, Jessica flees to the Scottish coast where she tries to piece together a terrifying conspiracy that has personal and global implications.
Can she stop events that could topple the political establishment of the country? Or will terror succeed?