Twenty-Seven Minutes by Ashley Tate

Writing.ie | Book Reviews | Crime/Thriller
Twenty-Seven Minutes by Ashley Tate

By Catherine Neville

Twenty-Seven Minutes by Ashley Tate

Seventeen year old Phoebe Dean was young, smart and pretty when she died in a car accident on the West Wilmer bridge.  At least that’s how people remember her.  Her brother Grant, on the other hand, was doing drugs and risking losing a football scholarship if found out.  He was driving the car the night of the accident and what no one can ever figure out is why it took him exactly twenty seven minutes after the crash to call an ambulance.  The fact that Phoebe might have lived, had he made the call earlier, eats away at him for years afterwards.

But Grant wasn’t alone in the car. Becca Holt, who is in love with Grant, was also a passenger but she can’t remember what happened that night and has to rely on Grant’s version of events.

When the bridge claims a second life ten years after the crash that killed Phoebe, locals start a campaign to tear the bridge down claiming it’s unsafe.  Grant, however, is opposed to this campaign and claims that Phoebe loved the bridge and wouldn’t want it taken down, although it was widely known that Phoebe had a fear of heights.  His mother decides to hold a memorial for her daughter on the decennial of her death, bringing the whole night back into focus for Grant, Becca and the rest of the town.

But others lost someone that night too.  June Delroys’ brother Wyatt left home after an argument with his father and hasn’t been seen since.  Does someone know where he went? Could Wyatt hold the key to what happened on the bridge that night?

This debut novel from Ashley Tate is told partly in flashbacks that allow us to gain an insight into the characters and how the events of that night ten years previously have affected them all, some more than others.  It is the story of the inhabitants of a small town who have lived beside each other for years and yet don’t really know each other.  While the tragedy brought the Dean family to prominence in the town, others were left to flounder in the shadows.  But there is a reckoning coming and we as readers are propelled along to the final showdown and the revelation of what actually happened the night Phoebe died.

Tate has created characters we can identify with and care about.  People consumed by loss and heartbreak and the effects of the decisions they made when faced with unspeakable tragedy.

Written after the death of her own mother from cancer, this is not only a crime thriller but a study of grief and the ways it affects people.  Tate writes with empathy about family relationships, expectations, disappointment and guilt.  Grief and guilt are uneasy bedfellows.  How long can you keep a secret while it eats away at you?

Twenty-Seven Minutes by Ashley TateBeautiful storytelling and compelling characters make this debut crime thriller a page turner that will keep you reading into the small hours.

(c) Catherine Neville

Catherine Neville, author, member of Writers’ Ink @cath.neville

Order your copy of Twenty-Seven Minutes here.

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