Trust No One | Clare Donoghue | 2016 (10 March) | Pan | 368p | Review copy | Buy the book
When Richard Taylor is found murdered in his bed, his family and friends must endure not only grief but also a police investigation that probes deeper and deeper into their lives, laying them bare. Secrets, indiscretions, dreams and worries are all fair game to the police. Detective Sergeant Jane Bennett, in recovery but still scarred from her previous case, is the leading officer, watched by the caring, close eye of DI Mike Lockyer. Lockyer knows it’s time to give Jane free rein and she’s more than capable – as Jane proves to him and to us during the Taylor murder investigation.
The Taylor case is a particularly difficult one. His two children, his ex-wife and his friends have been left in shock. By all accounts Richard was a good father and close to his friends, maintaining a good relationship with his ex-wife. But with every new set of questions asked by Jane, Mike and their team, there’s a sense that the layers of respectability, convention and expectation are being slowly peeled away, revealing depths of lies. The whole affair becomes a deeply emotional and painful experience, making Jane and Mike reassess their own family relationships and commitments.
Trust No One is a wonderfully clever and deceptively simple novel. Its focus is on one case, one victim, one group of suspects. This allows Clare Donoghue to delve so deeply into one man’s life, making his murder seem all the more terrible and wasteful because we learn so much about him. The novel includes snippets from Richard’s last month, a month that saw him making plans. People and relationships are revealed with all their complexity and contradictions. It is totally engrossing.
Jane Bennett’s own story also plays a role here as her home life becomes increasingly complicated and stressful. It’s not overdone, though, but it is written with great empathy. I enjoy the working relationship between Jane and Mike. Mike has transformed himself since the events of the previous novel No Place to Die and, although he still has his eccentricities, he works well with Jane and the other members of the team. There’s a strong sense that people are looking out for Mike just as he in turn is protective of Jane.
Trust No One is such a fine novel. It’s brilliantly twisty and full of surprises – I seemed to spend a fair amount of time thinking every one in it guilty at some point or other. It never lets us forget the awfulness of the crime. Richard Taylor is central to the whole novel just as he is to the case. The novel, while presenting us with a fascinating and detailed police investigation, also reminds us how complex life is, how much we affect the lives of others. But, when all’s said and done, how much do we really know about the people we care for and the people we bring into our lives? The title is very well chosen indeed.
No Place to Die