Take Me In, Sabine Durrant
Four thriller novels in, Sabine Durrant is already in the stable of authors of whose works I will read no matter what the blurb on their upcoming release has to say. Each book has been just as good as the one before, and Durrant knows exactly what needs to be done in order to pull the reader in close by the end of the very first chapter, if not the very first page.
The central premise of TAKE ME IN is an interesting one. The notion of gratitude, and the varying levels of what that can ascend to, comes up often in work and personal relationships. There’s nothing more precious than our kids, and there’s nothing we wouldn’t do to keep them safe. When someone else has had to take the reins of that responsibility, how big has our failure been and how much do we owe the other person? Throw in parental co-blaming as a deflection of guilt, and bang you have an even more fraught situation.
TAKE ME IN is an immersive read of guilt, deflection and the tangled webs we weave when everything goes wrong in our lives at once. We deflect, we over compensate, we are inattentive to what we should be paying most attention to. You can’t help but feel for Marcus and Tessa, a very believable and modern couple, as their lives descend into spiralling chaos after the beach incident. When this couple should have been drawing together, they do of course, draw apart. Author Sabine Durrant has us keenly awaiting some sort of resolution as the real threat to the family methodically scratches away at their defences. Misdirection, the secrets of married couples, an over familiar stranger and the pressures of modern life all combine in TAKE ME IN to give the reader an absorbing crime thriller that cleverly questions what it is we should really be fearful of.
Parental guilt being the relentlessly crushing weight that it is on all of us takes shape in the form of a near drowning in TAKE ME IN. Holidaying couple Tessa and Marcus are making the best of things on their week by the seaside, but in their right mind know that taking a toddler on a holiday is classic SSDS. Collapsing onto a pebbled beach and tasked to keep an eye on his young son whilst wife Tessa goes to change, Marcus very quickly nods off and awakens to shouts and screams. Three-year-old Josh is rescued from the water by a tall and unsettling stranger, the epitome perhaps of capable masculinity that has Marcus reacting in an odd way to the man. Is it Marcus’s insecurity around alpha males or is it the man’s demeanour; Marcus is not quite sure but the hackles of both parents are raised pretty much straight away by their son’s rescuer. Dave Jepsom has an odd intensity about him.
Things have not been great recently between Tessa and Marcus so naturally the near death of their son, whilst the attention of both young parents was elsewhere, places a further strain on the relationship. When Dave starts popping up in the background of their life and then KNOCKS at their FRONT DOOR, lines are being crossed. What can they do to repay Dave, and what can they do to make him go away?