I LOVED The Chalk Man, so I was very excited to read CJ Tudor’s latest!
The Chalk Man was more of a character-driven thriller, which followed one complex and mildly dysfunctional character and was surrounded by a cast of bold and interesting characters. The Other People felt more plot driven, which makes sense because it was more high concept. (High concept is a slightly annoying entertainment term which means something based on a unique ‘what if’ premise). And the ‘what if’ premise in The Other People is EXCEPTIONAL. I love, love, love it.
Three years ago, Gabe's family disappeared. Most people think they died. Some of them blame Gabe. Hardly anyone believes the truth--that Gabe saw his daughter the day she and his wife disappeared, smiling at him from the back of a rusty old car speeding down the highway. So even though it's been three years since that day, Gabe cannot give up hope. Even though he has given up everything else. His home, his job, his old life. He spends his days travelling up and down the highway and sleeping in service stations, searching for the car that took her.
It's hard for most people to understand. But Gabe has found some who do in an online group set up by people who have also lost loved ones--who have suffered like him. They call themselves "The Other People." Because isn't that what everyone thinks: bad stuff only happens to "other people."
When the car that Gabe saw driving away that night is found in a lake with a body inside, Gabe is suddenly under suspicion--and in danger. In desperation, he turns to The Other People for help. Because they are good people. They know what loss is like. They know what pain is like. They know what death is like. There's just one problem . . . they want other people to know it too.
The beginning is FANTASTIC. Great opening to a thriller!! But as I continued deeper into the story, at certain moments, I got a bit confused. I’ll be honest, life’s been busy, so I had to read this in small sections, which definitely didn’t help me keep clear about what was happening. Even so, there were a good number of characters and a lot of switching POVs, and those character’s lives didn’t intersect until deep into the book. So, I had issues keeping them straight. There’s a big pay-off for it, though, once it’s finally revealed what is happening, about a third of the way in.
Overall, I think the premise — the ‘what if’ of this story — is very compelling, but also very ambitious and probably incredibly difficult to pull off. Besides some confusion at certain moments, it was a very fun read! Some great scenes, some excellent twists and - of course - a lot of suspense. I’ll continue to read whatever Tudor’s dark and imaginative mind comes up with in the future.
Thank you so much NetGalley and Random House - Ballantine for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!