2018 Book Reviews · Author Interviews · Blog Tours · Favourite Books

The Fear by C. L. Taylor

Sometimes your first love won’t let you go…

When Lou Wandsworth ran away to France with her teacher Mike Hughes, she thought he was the love of her life. But Mike wasn’t what he seemed and he left her life in pieces.

Now 32, Lou discovers that he is involved with teenager Chloe Meadows. Determined to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself, she returns home to confront him for the damage he’s caused.

But Mike is a predator of the worst kind, and as Lou tries to bring him to justice, it’s clear that she could once again become his prey…’

Right, I need to apologise in advance for any shouty caps and any wittering on I do in this review. Actually I take it back, yes already, because this is a book that absolutely must be shouted about at every available opportunity!

The Fear is without a doubt C. L. Taylor’s BEST DAMN BOOK TO DATE! It is utterly compelling and IMPOSSIBLE to put down. Seriously, for three hours I sat and read this book without stopping, if anyone dared look at me, let alone try to talk to me, I wanted to hit them with the book and make them leave me alone, forever! Every detail of this book was mesmerising, and C. L. Taylor has this way of drawing you in, horryifing you then leaving you terrified for days. If you know anyone called Mike, you’ll be wanting to avoid him forever after reading this book!

Louise Wandsworth is terrible at relationships, she only allows herself to go so far before she pulls away and inevitably ends up alone. After a one night stand with Ben, she expects to find him gone the next morning but Ben sticks around and a month later she finds herself being taken out for a surprise by Ben. Only Louise HATES surprises, if Ben knew her at all then he would know why she hated them. But Louise hasn’t told Ben the truth about her past, in fact Louise hasn’t told anyone about her past and her past is ruining her life now and will in the future…

You see at thirteen, Louise met a man named Mike, he was her karate instructor. Mike groomed Louise and made her believe that they were completely in love with one another, and that they obviously had to keep it a secret because he was so much older and no-one would understand, people would think it was wrong and stop them from being together. Mike was married but told Louise that his marriage was unhappy and Louise was the only person in the world that he truly loved, he made her feel so special, he treated her like a grown up, he cared for her when she thought no-one else did. And with that trust, he kidnapped her and took her to France, on the pretence that they were having a romantic weekend away together, where they could be together as a couple. At first Mike is silly, happy and playful making Louise believe this was true love, but then things start to turn sour quickly and Mike begins to show an aggressive and violent side that leaves Louise living in fear, the sex between them is no longer gentle and loving and Mike begins to violate Louise in ways she never dreamed he could or would.

In the present Louise has escaped from Ben’s car and runaway, the surprise he had planned involved going on the ferry in Dover to go to France and it was all too much for her, so she ends it with Ben then and there and gets a train home to London.  Yet again her past has hindered her happiness. For eighteen years Louise has pretended that Mike doesn’t exist but now she realises that she needs to face Mike once and for all to hopefully get the closure she needs to be able to move on. Her dad died in the family home a while ago now and so she returns home to finally sort out the farm house out and will confront Mike also.

Mike spent five years in prison for what he did to Louise but still lives in the same house, not that Louise had ever been there, he kept her away from his home and wife. He maintained throughout the trial that he went to France to bring Louise home after she ran away from home and at the time Louise refused to speak at the trial through fear of seeing him again, something she soon regrets…

When Louise arrives at Mike’s house he isn’t in and an over friendly neighbour divulges that he woks at the local garden centre doing pickups for them. Louise heads that way and what she sees makes her revolted, Mike is in a wendy house kissing someone…. another child! Mike is doing it again, it wasn’t just her, it is now this young girl and she has to put a stop to it. Louse hides away and watches the young girl get into a car that is clearly her dads, then follows them home, she then goes to the police and tells them excatly what she saw but gives them a false name and doesn’t tell them her own backstory that involves Mike. When the police get back to her to tell her that they couldn’t do anything as they had no evidence Louise snaps and takes matters into her own hands.

Louise arranges for Mike to come and collect a chair from her dads in the hope she can confront him once and for all, only when Mike turns up it all goes terribly wrong for Louise and she finds herself losing control of the situation, a situation that she so desperately wanted to have full control over…

Now I am going to be really annoying and stop talking about what comes next because I really don’t want to ruin that suspense and goosebump inducing storytelling that Cally so expertly does within her writing.

But I do want to talk about Mike’s ex wife, Wendy, because wow! Wendy has her own narrative throughout the book and her story is just as gripping as Lou’s. Wendy could be described as psychopathic and she has a real obsession with Lou, she truly believes that Mike was seduced by Lou because that is what Mike made her believe, Mike kept Wendy within his clutches for as long as possible even when in prison, lying and manipulating her very much the same way as Lou but for very different rewards.

The different narration between the Lou and Wendy really kept this a page turner from beginning to end, two very desperate women both with vendettas that are taking over their lives! As the days go by the momentum builds and builds and you find yourself desperate to discover how it will end, and having the story told from two perspectives has you racing through page after page until finally you realise you haven’t moved from the sofa all day and the kids are crying in the corner from starvation! (I would like to point out I did feed the kids!) Both Wendy and Lou are fascinating characters and actually very alike, they just don’t know it. Both were treated appallingly by Mike, both duped by his lies. As for Mike he is the most deplorable character I have ever come across, he is terrifying and will go to any length to get his own way, he tells lie after lie, after lie and only Lou is truly aware of how vile he is. But no one seems to believe her.

Cally is a genius, she weaves a story like no other. She is the Queen of suspense and refusing her readers the ability of sleeping whilst there are still pages unread! The Fear truly is the best book she has written and if she keeps getting better with each book I cannot wait for the next book and the next and the next.

The Fear is terrifying, completely addictive and that one book you will always try and force other people to read, just so you can talk about it some more! Absolutely unputdownable.

Don’t hesitate, go buy it right now, in all good shops or by clicking here!

 

And now I have an interview with Cally about The Fear…

C.L. Taylor

C.L. Taylor is the Sunday Times bestselling author of five gripping, stand-alone psychological thrillers: THE ACCIDENT, THE LIE, THE MISSING, THE ESCAPE and THE FEAR. Her books have sold in excess of a million copies, been number one on Amazon Kindle, Kobo, iBooks and Google Play and have been translated into over 20 languages. THE ESCAPE won the Dead Good Books ‘Hidden Depths’ award for the Most Unreliable Narrator and THE LIE has been optioned for TV by The Forge who produced National Treasure featuring Robbie Coltrane.

Cally Taylor was born in Worcester and spent her early years living in various army camps in the UK and Germany. She studied Psychology at the University of Northumbria and went on forge a career in instructional design and e-Learning before leaving to write full time in 2014.

She started writing short stories in 2005 and was published widely in literary and women’s magazines. She also won several short story competitions. In 2009 and 2011 her romantic comedy novels (as Cally Taylor) were published by Orion and translated into fourteen languages. HEAVEN CAN WAIT was a bestseller in Hungary and China and HOME FOR CHRISTMAS was made into a feature film by JumpStart Productions. Whilst on maternity leave with her son Cally had an idea for a psychological thriller and turned to crime. She has also written a Young Adult thriller, THE TREATMENT, which was published by HarperCollins HQ.

C.L. Taylor lives in Bristol with her partner and young son.

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1. Cally, I’m a HUGE fan of yours as you know and this book is without a doubt your

best book to date. Which is being said by many others also. Do you personally feel the
same about The Fear?
Thank you, that’s very kind. I am beyond chuffed that people think The Fear is my
best book so far. Without wanting to sound too conceited I agree! Whenever I finish a
book I am never completely satisfied with what I’ve produced. Another writer
(possibly Monica Ali or Ali Smith) said that when she first comes up with an idea for
a book it’s like a cathedral in her mind but when she’s written it it’s more like a shed!
All authors feel that way. We get really excited about the idea and think it will be the
best book we’ve ever written but we’re inevitably disappointed by what we actually
produce. That said The Fear is the closed I’ve got to matching the finished book to
what I set out to write. I wasn’t entirely sure how Lou, Wendy and Chloe’s stories
would intersect when I began the first draft and the ending took me completely by
surprise. I think it’s definitely the strongest ending of any of my books and I’m going
to have a hard time matching it with any future books I think!
2. The storyline a teacher/pupil relationship which sees them run off to France, was that
inspired in any way by the true story that happened a few years ago in Britain?
It was partly inspired by that story, yes. I wanted to write about a woman who takes
control of a potentially dangerous situation and, at first, I thought it would be about a woman
who confronts the man who murdered her sister when they were all teenagers. It wasn’t a bad
idea but I realised that there have been a lot of psychological thrillers about sisters and when
the idea of a woman confronting the teacher she ran away to France with popped into my
head I jumped on it. I wondered what ‘Gemma’ would say to Jeremy Forrest if she bumped
into him twenty years after they ran away together and how she would feel. I imagine that
something like that would have a long lasting effect on a person and I wanted to explore that
in The Fear.
3. Whenever we read one of your books we are always in for amazing twists and turns.
Do you have an idea of the twists your books will take before you start writing or do
they come to you as you are writing?
My way of writing has changed a bit over the course of the five psychological thrillers
I’ve written for Avon. When I wrote the first book, The Accident, I spent a lot of time
plotting while I was breastfeeding my son at night and I’d write while he napped during
the day. With The Lie I ‘pantsed’ the book (made it up as I went along) and had to do a
lot of rewrites. With The Missing and The Escape I wrote lengthy outlines before I wrote
the first draft and nearly all the twists and turns were detailed in the outlines (although the
epilogue to The Escape came to me while I was doing my structural edits). With The
Fear and the book I’m writing now I decided to do away with the outline, partly because I
didn’t have time to write one and partly because I like not knowing exactly what’s going
to happen from scene to scene. I have a rough idea of where the story is going but there’s
still lots of room for twists and turns to occur to me as I’m writing – and that makes the
process so much more exciting.
4. Mike is the most vile human, I don’t think he had one redeeming feature. Without spoiling
the book, was there any point within the writing process that you considered changing the
outcome of his story?
Ha! He is horrible isn’t he? I’m glad you think so. I always knew what would happen
to Mike but it wasn’t until near I got to the end that I realised how the other characters would
interact in order for him… well, I can’t say any more about that can I? Mike got what he
deserved. I can say that much.
5. Was there anything that got cut from the book that you could tell us about?
Hmm. You do ask excellent questions! The only thing I can think of is that a few of
Wendy’s musings got cut. She was so much fun to write that there were a few places where
she went off on one, wittering on about this or that, and made me laugh. I was disappointed
when my editor asked me to cut some of her comments but I understood why. Not everything
Wendy said was relevant to the story and in some places she made the tone too light hearted.
6. How do you feel when releasing a new book, especially to your eager fan base. Are you
full of nerves or excited to hear what they think?
With this book I’m REALLY EXCITED. I think it’s because I’m so proud of it and
because I’ve been wowed by some of the amazing feedback on NetGalley and Goodreads.
With other books I’ve been more nervous. When The Missing came out for example I was
really nervous because The Lie had such a great reception and I knew I’d written a very
different book that might not meet my readers’ expectations. A few people have told me that
The Fear has replaced The Lie as their favourite book of mine and that makes me very happy
indeed!
7. Do you have a strict writing process or do you spend too much time online looking at dog
videos on YouTube?
Ha ha. Have you been peeping over my shoulder? I do wish I could follow a strict
writing process but I’m not nearly that regimented. I’m not very good in the mornings so I
tend to procrastinate far too much after I drop my son off at school (I watch a lot of tele) but I
will move into my office at around 11.30 and stay there until I have to leave for pick-up at
3pm (I eat my lunch at my desk). When a deadline is getting closer (as it is for my next book)
I’ll work out how many words I need to write a week in order to meet it and I’ll do my
damnedest to meet those totals. That often means I have to write some more words in the
evenings or at the weekends.
8. Who are your auto buy authors? The authors you will happily buy books from without
reading the blurb?
Oooh. Maggie O’Farrell and Margaret Atwood for sure. And if I didn’t get sent proofs
I’d definitely auto buy books by Lisa Jewell, Belinda Bauer, Mark Edwards and Tammy
Cohen. I’ve just started listening to the audiobook of Unravelling Oliver by Liz Nugent and I
can see her becoming a new favourite.
9. What authors inspire you as a writer and why?
As a child Enid Blyton was my biggest influence. I devoured her books and they really fed
my imagination, particularly The Magic Faraway Tree series. As I got older I fell in love
with Roald Dahl’s books, particularly his Tales of the Unexpected short stories when I was a
teenager (they probably explain why my novels can be quite twisted!). These days I’m
inspired by authors who pull off brilliant twists that I didn’t see coming (as I normally guess
twists), authors who have vibrant voices (I loved Gone Girl for that reason) and authors who
make me forget I’m reading a book (I will forever be grateful to Lianne Moriarty for writing
Big Little Lies because it got me out of a reading slump).
10. What can we expect next from you?
I’m currently writing my sixth psychological thriller which…drum roll…will be my first
hardback (I am so excited) and is due to be published in January 2019. When that’s finished I
need to do my very best to write my second Young Adult thriller as I’m already behind
schedule and I’d really like to finish it by the end of this year,
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