Beneath The Fear – about the book:
‘Spoilt and indulged since childhood, Samantha Copeland believes bad things only happen to other people. However, after witnessing her husband’s murder during a bank robbery in Oxford, that illusion is cruelly shattered.
Traumatised by the experience, Sam eventually retreats to the Cornish coast, where she hopes to heal her fragile state of mind. Unfortunately, instead of the peace she so desperately craves, she soon finds her vulnerability tested to breaking point by a series of unnerving and unexplained incidents. However, after meeting her enigmatic neighbour, Tony Walker, and local handyman, Nathan Scott, Sam soon discovers the worst is yet to come.’
What did I think?
Beneath The Fear plays on insecurities that we might all harbour, even without the traumatic life event that the lead character, Samantha, went through. Short, punchy chapters deliver pace, and although I personally found the ending fairly predictable (there was an unexpected twist!) Rawlings’ writing style kept me hooked and engaged until the end.
Characters, settings and backgrounds were introduced steadily throughout the book, so that important details giving you clues to the outcome are not overlooked. This also kept the developing story interesting, and I didn’t feel the need to flick back and forth to remind myself which character I was reading about.
I thought that Beneath The Fear was a book of two halves, however. Completely focused on the central character, Sam, until chapter 48, you are drawn in to her story and life and perspective. At that point though, the narrative view changes and at times towards the concluding scenes timeframes shift slightly too. Some of this middle to end section of the book didn’t really add to overall flow of the story, and I wonder if there would have been an alternative way to present this information to the reader from Sam’s point of view.
That said, this doesn’t put me off recommending the book and I would give it a solid thumbs up. If drama with elements of well placed crime are your thing, you should absolutely add Beneath the Fear to your reading list.
About the author:
Sheila Rawlings is an author of adult crime and psychological thrillers, and her debut novel, ‘Truth and Revenge’ was chosen as a finalist for the Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards 2014. ‘Beneath the Fear’ is her second novel.
Born in Bexleyheath, Kent and educated at the prestigious Bexley Technical High School for Girls, Sheila originally trained as a graphic designer at Medway College of Art and Design (now the University of Creative Arts – part of Kent University). After graduating from college with a diploma in visual communication, she worked as a graphic designer for two mail order companies, designing and producing their catalogues. Wanting something more challenging, she then worked for several years as a graphic designer and production manager for a magazine publisher. During that time, she also assisted their PR and marketing department, designing exhibition stands for various clients.
It was while working with journalists she eventually rekindled her childhood love of reading and storytelling, prompting her to write her own novels. Sheila now lives in South London with her husband, Martin.
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N.B. Thank you to Sheila Rawlings for gifting me a copy of her book, Beneath the Fear in exchange for my honest opinion. For more information please see my disclosure page. Thank you also to Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour!