I am delighted to share my review of Sweet William from Iain Maitland. Thank you to Sara from Contraband who gave me a copy of this book at Harrogate earlier this year. She told me that she thought that this one would be right up my street, Sara you were right!
What the blurb says:
“Extremely well written and very frightening”–Barbara Nadel. Life and death played out over 48 hours. A father intent on being with his young son escapes from a secure psychiatric hospital, knowing he has just one chance for the two of them to start a new life together. Sweet William is a breathtakingly dark thriller that spans forty-eight hours in the life of a desperate father and a three-year-old child in peril. Brilliant and terrifying, this is a debut novel that will stay with its readers long after they finish turning the pages.
The novel is the tale of two days in which Raymond snatches his son in a bid to start a new life together but very quickly you work out that Raymond is perhaps not cut out to be father material after all. Initially, I looked at this book and thought that I’d be rooting for Raymond, a father denied his son due to his mental illness but it soon becomes clear that Raymond is not a very nice man at all; not the sort of daddy you would want for a sweet little boy like William.
Raymond Orrey tells his part of the story in the first person and as a reader, this is chilling, when he asks a question I was never quite sure if he was talking to me, or to an alternative personality that was vying for his attention. It was a chilling insight into the mind of a psychopath; in fact it was more than an insight, I was forced to crawl right inside the head of this man and hear his voice and watch his acts and unable to stop him; never gratuitously violent but was left with no doubt that Raymond Orrey was a very violent and unpredictable man. He tries hard to convince us that he is a good man, a good daddy but the chilling narrative makes it clear that he’s not
As a reader, I felt as though I had become the unwitting observer to his spiral further into madness, once I started reading, I had engaged with him and there was no escape.We don’t really get to know the other characters and it is hard to engage with them because of this. However I don’t think the author intended for us to engage with them, they are on the periphery and our focus is on Orrey and William. My heart was in my mouth the whole way through; tears and frustration, sadness and anger were emotions swirling about as I read. This book will crawl under your skin and wrap it’s insidious tendrils around you never letting go, once you open this book, there is no going back!
Sweet William can be purchased: