Finders, Keepers by Sabine Durrant is published with Hodder & Stoughton. Described as ‘brilliantly creepy and completely absorbing’, it is a tale that really gets under your skin, an unsettling tale.
Number 424 Trinity Fields has been home to Verity Ann Baxter almost her whole life. At fifty-two years of age, Verity lives alone, with just her trusted companion, her dog, Maudie for company. Verity had been her mother’s carer for many years but, following her mother’s passing five years previously, Verity has lived a very isolated existence. An occasional trip out to meet her friend Fred and a regular pub quiz are Verity’s only social outlets. What Verity doesn’t have is a friend, a real friend who will be there for her, who will be a shoulder, an ear, a silent companion when needed. Verity works as a freelance assistant editor to the editor of the Oxford English Dictionary. Working from home suits Verity but it also very much adds to the loneliness in her life.
When Ailsa and Tom Tilson buy the property next door, Verity watches the house being transformed, over a thirteen month period, into a show home. When the Tilsons finally move in with their three children, Verity gets to meet the family that she already knew lots about.
“Of course I knew they’d moved in the day before. The whole neighbourhood knew they’d moved in the day before. Most of us had anticipated little else for the last thirteen months but their moving in the day before; thirteen months of drills and bulldozers, the clatter of scaffolding, the whining of saws, the bangs and shouts and music and oaths of the increasingly frantic builders. I knew their taste…”
Ailsa and Tom Tilson, a couple that The Sun describe as ‘a fairy-tale couple‘, she in HR and he, a record company executive, live a life very, very different to that of Verity Ann Baxter. During the initial days and following a very brief encounter, Verity watches, observes until a knock on the door announces the arrival of Tom and Ailsa. Tom is brash with Verity demanding she sort out her garden before it impinges too much on their property. Verity’s house is not quite up to the standard of the Tilsons. They have a reputation to uphold and Verity’s house lowers the tone of the area. This initial meeting of Tom and Verity was to be the start of a very thorny relationship, yet Verity was drawn to Ailsa. She made herself available to Ailsa, slowly infiltrating their lives, yet doing it in quite a covert manner. Was Verity just lonely? Was she looking for a friend, a family, companions? Was it an innocent attraction?
Finders, Keepers is a story of obsession. Verity narrates and, as a reader, you are faced with a dilemma. Empathy or discomfort, which emotion does one feel for Verity? Events happen that raise the heckles, raise suspicions and then, with a solid explanation, our compassion returns. We are drip fed scenes and scenarios. We grow to dislike Tom. We begin to switch our allegiance from Verity to Ailsa and back again. Who is the disturbed? Who is the obsessed? Who is out to destroy whom? Finders, Keepers twists and turns as the story reveals itself and in doing so a sense of voyeurism creeps in.
Finders, Keepers is a claustrophobic, disturbing and yet compelling read. It is a slow-burner with an ominous feel and with characters that are just wonderfully fleshed out. Sabine Durrant writes psychological suspense with a very deft pen. Finders, Keepers is a disconcerting read, one where the reader is soon lost in a maze of dead ends, frustrated, confused and creeped out by an uncomfortable and unexplained feeling of dread. Finders, Keepers is very much a character driven read, one of very different personalities, one of obsession and one which totally messed with my head!
(c) Swirl and Thread
Order your copy online here.