I received a copy of While My Back Was Turned* for review, but the opinions below are my own and unbiased.
Clayton Bentham is trying to make amends to his wife and daughter, after ending an affair with his secretary. He takes them out for a day by the sea, but when his former lover texts him, he sneaks off for a few minutes to call her. When he gets back, they have vanished but his wife’s phone is left behind on a wall.
The investigation into their disappearance soon seems to be going against him, and one of the detective’s is clearly convinced that Clayton was involved. Clayton needs to find his family and prove his innocence, which means taking matters into his own hands.
I have to admit that I had mixed feelings while reading this book. And that is mainly down to the skill with which RM Blackwell develops the character of Clayton Bentham. In the first few chapters, I really didn’t like him at all. Even putting aside the fact that he was unfaithful to his wife, he is totally self-absorbed. He doesn’t believe that there is any chance that his wife might know about his fling. And rather than ignoring the texts from his ex-lover, he finds an excuse to sneak off and call her.
And even during the early part of the investigation, he tries to cover up the relationship with his secretary. His self-image is more important than giving the police information that may lead to finding his wife and daughter.
But my interest in the case overcame my dislike of Clayton and I really started to get into the book. For a long time, I couldn’t see who might be responsible for the crime or how Clayton was going to prove his innocence. I even wondered if perhaps he might actually have ordered their kidnap!
As the story progresses, there are twists and turns galore and I eventually stopped disliking Clayton so much. Yes, there are a few coincidences along the way, but they didn’t make the story seem unbelievable.
The conclusion of While My Back Was Turned was really gripping, and tied up most of the loose ends in a satisfying way. There was a bit of a cliffhanger ending, which I do usually find a bit frustrating. But presumably it will lead onto a second Clayton Bentham novel, and I’m looking forward to finding out what happens in that one!
IN FOUR MINUTES HIS LIFE CHANGED FOREVER…
A family day out is brought to an abrupt end when Clayton Bentham’s wife and teenage daughter disappear. He leaves them for several, short minutes to make a secret phone call to his ex-mistress. When he returns, they have vanished without a trace. Their abandoned drinks are set upon their seats, right next to his wife’s phone.
He is forced to admit that they have gone, and calls the police for help. An investigation is launched, but it’s immediately obvious to Clayton that the chief detective is determined to find him guilty…
With no one to turn to and with the police case drawing focus around him, he is forced to start his own investigation.
Clayton has been keeping secrets, but it soon becomes apparent that his wife has some disturbing secrets of her own…And the more he digs, the more he discovers that these secrets may just be the cause of her mysterious disappearance…
A steady start leads into a gripping story with a fast-moving conclusion – 7.5/10