Lincoln is a good boy. At the age of four, he is curious, clever and well behaved. He does as his mum says and knows what the rules are.
‘The rules are different today. The rules are that we hide and do not let the man with the gun find us.’
When an ordinary day at the zoo turns into a nightmare, Joan finds herself trapped with her beloved son. She must summon all her strength, find unexpected courage and protect Lincoln at all costs – even if it means crossing the line between right and wrong; between humanity and animal instinct.
It’s a line none of us would ever normally dream of crossing.
But sometimes the rules are different.
Have you ever read a book that’s brought out emotions in you that you weren’t even aware of? Because that is what happened to me when reading this book. I had no idea that I had innate maternal feelings, I’ve never felt broody or motherly at any point in my life, but something about the writing in this book pulled all the right strings, and I suddenly had “motherly emotions”. Phillip’s writing is superb and if you’re lucky enough to have a day off to read this, you will certainly get through it within a few hours.
This book is definitely a thriller, but because of the topics in it, all the “would I have done that?” questions running through your head, you can get completely lost in the moment of this story, only remembering Joan & Lincoln are hiding from gunmen when it’s mentioned in Joan’s narrative.
The characterisation in this is so good it’s hard to explain how good it is. Phillips is a mother herself so she is clearly writing from her own heart here. Joan is exactly the way I imagine being a mother feels, Lincoln is a little bundle of joy throughout the darkness of the book, and Robby is a tragic and sociopathic killer.
I can’t tell you that this book is perfect, because it’s not. The writing, for me, pretty much was perfect, but the plot lacked a little, especially at the end when I was left wanting more. More explanation, or a more rounded conclusion.
Overall, this was a seriously emotive and beautiful novel. It will bring out some seriously strong emotions in you and it will thrill you. This gets a very strong 4/4.5 stars from me.
Thanks to Random House UK, Transworld Publishers for sending me an ARC copy of this book. And also to Netgalley for my eARC copy. (I was sent the physical ARC after the Netgalley approval, I wasn’t being greedy!)