Penguin | 2020 (23 January) | 442p | Review copy | Buy the book
Teenager Faith Appleford is snatched off the street on the outskirts of Oxford. A plastic bag is forced over her head and she is driven off. Thankfully she manages to escape but, when DI Adam Fawley and his team question her, she refuses to say anything about what happened to her. The police will have to find another way to solve the crime. But there is something about it which horrifies Fawley. It’s far too similar to another case he investigated many years before and it’s not too long before questions are being asked of him. And then another girl goes missing. This time she might not be as fortunate as Faith Appleford. Fawley has to find her and face the past.
All the Rage is the fourth novel by Cara Hunter to feature Oxford detective Adam Fawley and, as is no surprise considering how absolutely brilliant the previous one was (No Way Out), it is fantastic. As with all series you benefit from having followed the lives of the detectives through previous novels but All the Rage stands alone very well.
The story is so good, full of surprises, shocks and potential suspects, and particularly interesting for the way in which it shows how crime can affect those close to the victim, whether family or friends, and how the net of suspicion is widely cast. It all adds up to fear and distrust in the community. But what makes this novel, and the others so brilliant, is not just the excellent story but the way in which it is told. Cara Hunter excels at immersing the reader in the investigation and in the case as a whole by filling the narrative with different and unusual perspectives – we’re given extracts from police interviews, from transcripts of court cases, blog posts and tweets. The narrative also moves around between people. Much of the time is spent with Adam Fawley and these sections are in the first person but these are interspersed with third person narrative, showing us how Fawley is viewed by others and also taking us into the world of Faith, her family and her school friends. It’s all extremely clever and very sophisticated – and completely engrossing.
As well as being a tense and gripping read, All the Rage also considers some important themes. There is so much to this story. I can’t say anything about these as I don’t want to give anything away. You must discover these people for yourself. I warmed much more to Adam Fawley in All the Rage. I feel that we know him better in this novel and I like what I find. I also enjoyed meeting the other team members again. They have more to deal with than normal and react and interact in different ways. They’re an interesting bunch. As for Faith Applefield… I cared about her very much.
I live and work in north Oxford and so this is an area I know inside out and, once more, Cara Hunter sets her novel close to home. I suspect I may also know something of the inspiration for the novel. But this place that I love is in safe hands with this author. I’ve read books set in Oxford with glaring errors, inevitably pushing me out of the book, but there is none of that in this series. This feels like the real Oxford, albeit one that has much to frighten, these are no cosey crimes. Its authenticity makes All the Rage even more compelling for me and, I suspect, for all readers, whether they know the city or not.
All the Rage is yet another absolute corker from Cara Hunter! I love this series so much and, as an Oxfordian, it appeals even more and the Oxford that is portrayed here is spot on. This is such a clever story and I love the way in which it’s told, approaching it from every angle and from so many perspectives. It’s extremely effective. The result is that this book is so difficult to put down and is utterly engrossing. I can’t wait for more!
No Way Out
I’m delighted to post my review as part of the blog tour to celebrate the publication of this marvellous book. For other stops on the tour, please take a look at the poster below.