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Book Review: The Fall – Claire McGowan

Donna Brown2 comments725 views
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About The Fall

The Fall

What would you do if the man you love was accused of murder?

Bad things never happen to Charlotte. She’s living the life she’s always wanted and about to marry wealthy banker, Dan. But Dan’s been hiding a secret, and the pressure is pushing him over the edge. After he’s arrested for the vicious killing of a nightclub owner, Charlotte’s future is shattered.

Then she opens her door to Keisha, an angry and frustrated stranger with a story to tell. Convinced of Dan’s innocence, Charlotte must fight for him – even if it means destroying her perfect life. But what Keisha knows threatens everyone she loves, and puts her own life in danger.

DC Matthew Hegarty is riding high on the success of Dan’s arrest. But he’s finding it difficult to ignore his growing doubts as well as the beautiful and vulnerable Charlotte. Can he really risk it all for what’s right?

Three stories. One truth. They all need to brace themselves for the fall.

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Review: The Fall

The Fall is the debut novel from Claire McGowan and tells the story of a murder investigation and journey to trial from the point of view of three characters: the wife-to-be of the accused (Charlotte), the girlfriend of an unsavoury man who happened to be in the same location as the victim and accused on the night of the murder (Keisha) and, finally, the investigating officer (Hegarty).

It quickly becomes apparent that the evidence against Charlotte’s fiance, Dan, is compelling – but only because the police don’t know about Chris, Keisha’s boyfriend, who arrives home on the night of the murder with bloodied trainers and an extremely edgy attitude.  Hegarty has a lot riding on this arrest and prosecution: has his desire to solve the case quickly led to him making mistakes?  And what will be the consequences for all of them if the extra evidence remains hidden?

McGowan writes the book with regular shifts in perspective so it’s told in each of the three character’s voices at different intervals.  At first I found the switch from one perspective to another a little jarring because the switches seemed to happen with great regularity. However, as the stories intertwined, I got used to the style and actually enjoyed the switching perspectives. The three characters are very different – they’re from different backgrounds, different worlds and have very different views. However, events bring them into very close contact with one another and lead them to form connections they never would have imagined.

I thought this was an excellent debut, raising some interesting questions about who you can rely upon when the unexpected happens. McGowan brought together some fundamentally flawed characters and revealed their weaknesses and vulnerabilities but in such a way that made you feel more tender and understanding towards them.  All of the characters have some really unpleasant characteristics (Charlotte, for example, is spoiled, whilst Keisha is misguided in her loyalty and Hegarty is blindsided by his ambition – and later by other desires); however, McGowan portrays each character so you can see both their good and bad sides and this makes it much less of a black and white story.

The story was told in such a way that several endings were possible and I was pleased with the way that McGowan chose to bring it to a conclusion.  This was a well constructed storyline in a well written book.  I would definitely be interested to read more of McGowan’s writing in future and hope to see some grittier, more probing works that build on the success of this first novel.  A solid four out of five.

Verdict: 4/5

Source: Amazon Vine

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Donna Brown
Avid reader/audiobook listener, fan of podcasts, prone to the odd Netflix binge. Mum to six crazy and incredible rescue cats. Occasional writer of short stories and poetry.


  1. This book sound very interesting. I would like to see how the author bounces between perspectives. This doesn't sound like an easy thing to do and still keep the story compelling. Thanks for the review. I'll check it out. Sally

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