I’m delighted to be taking part in the tour for What She Saw Last Night by M.J. Cross. Although the author has written other books as Mason Cross, this is the first time I’ve read any of his novels. Thank you to Tracy Fenton and Orion Books for inviting me to take part. Before my review, here’s the blurb.
A secret that could kill her.
A truth no one believes…
Jenny Bowen is going home. Boarding the Caledonian Sleeper, all she wants to do is forget about her upcoming divorce and relax on the ten-hour journey through the night.
In her search for her cabin, Jenny helps a panicked woman with a young girl she assumes to be her daughter. Then she finds her compartment and falls straight to sleep.
Waking in the night, Jenny discovers the woman dead in her cabin… but there’s no sign of the little girl. The train company have no record of a child being booked on the train, and CCTV shows the dead woman boarding alone.
The police don’t believe Jenny, and soon she tries to put the incident out of her head and tells herself that everyone else is right: she must have imagined the little girl.
But deep down, she knows that isn’t the truth.
For anyone who shares the delight of South Western Railways then you’ll know there’s a 27 day strike in December. But it’s OK as there are two books out this month about train journeys and once you’ve read them, you’ll never want to take a train again! I reviewed Violet by SJI Holliday last month and learnt about the pitfalls of travelling on trains abroad. M.J. Cross has gone one step further and has brought the horror to the UK.
Jenny Bowen has a lot on her plate. Her soon to be ex-husband is hassling her to sign the divorce papers and she has her late father’s estate in Scotland to sort out. All she wants to do is get to her cabin on the sleeper train to Fort William and chill. But just like on an airplane where there’s always one passenger struggling to get their luggage into the overhead locker, there’s a woman with a large suitcase blocking the corridor. Jenny notices a soft toy has been dropped and returns it to the woman. She sees a girl in the cabin and guesses it belongs to her. Early next morning, Jenny finds the woman dead and the girl missing. There’s no record of the girl as a passenger and she can’t be found on CCTV either. The police don’t believe her, apart from one – Sergeant Mike Fletcher. He and Jenny set out to find what’s happened to the missing girl.
Wow. Jenny Bowen is one tough cookie. She’s incredibly resourceful as I certainly wouldn’t know where to look first for a missing child. She has great tenacity as despite everything that happens (and a LOT happens), she never gives up. This is a fantastic thriller told by three people – Jenny, Mike and Klenmore. That last name tells you everything you need to know – it’s not the name of a good person. I don’t want to give too much away but this is an elaborate cat and mouse novel. I would say picture Tom and Jerry but this isn’t cartoon violence. It’s fair to say Jenny and Mike are in real danger. Having said that, there’s nothing gratuitous in the story. M.J. Cross has cleverly drawn enough of a picture for our minds to do the rest.
Considering there’s only one plotline, there’s a lot of depth to this book. You can tell it’s been well-researched and little details are observed. Short chapters and multiple viewpoints keep the pace moving and there’s no lag in the story.
I really enjoyed this book and there were times towards the end when I had to take little breaks because the tension was so great. I’m fairly certain this is a standalone novel but Jenny Bowen is such a great character I could easily see her in her own series as a private investigator. She’s definitely developed the right sort of skills. As I wrote earlier this was my first M.J. Cross read – it won’t be my last.
To buy What She Saw Last Night click here.
M.J. Cross was born in Glasgow in 1979. He studied English at the University of Stirling and currently works in the voluntary sector. He has written a number of short stories, including A Living, which was shortlisted for the Quick Reads ‘Get Britain Reading’ Award. He lives in Glasgow with his wife and three children.