I’m making a confession here, I have not read any of Angela Clarke’s books before. And on top of that confession comes a pledge…I shall be reading more after reading “On My Life” which left me literally speechless! Thank you to the publishers, the author and Netgalley for the ARC.
Before I share my thoughts, here’s what the official blurb says:
Framed. Imprisoned. Pregnant.
Jenna thought she had the perfect life: a loving fiancé, a great job, a beautiful home. Then she finds her stepdaughter murdered; her partner missing.
And the police think she did it…
Locked up to await trial, surrounded by prisoners who’d hurt her if they knew what she’s accused of, certain someone close to her has framed her, Jenna knows what she needs to do:
Clear her name
Save her baby
Find the killer
But can she do it in time?
‘An angry, powerful read – one of those rare crime novels with more to deliver than routine thrills.’ Mick Herron, author of London Rules
‘A compelling, vividly realised prison drama with a mystery at its heart. Hugely enjoyed it.’ Steve Cavanagh, author of Thirteen
‘This is an eye-opening, jaw-dropping read that will keep you up to the wee small hours.’ Liz Nugent, author of Skin Deep
‘Intelligent, pacy thriller… Taut, claustrophobic, fast-paced, moving. An incredibly gripping read.’Will Dean, author of Dark Pines
If Carlsberg did opening scenes…actually scrub that…if Carlsberg did books…
Well, didn’t that one just reach out and grab me by the throat! From the word off I was hooked! You know when you pick up a book and you just don’t want to put it down! I started reading this in the bath and came out like a prune whereby I went straight to bed with a do not disturb sign! If I hadn’t had to sleep or go to work then this would have been a one sitting reading!
If you want me to say anything about it then let’s just say this plot is so breathtakingly pacy, twisted and clever that it would have trouble hiding behind a corkscrew! The characters are so well written that they come alive in front of your eyes! I not only engaged with them, but I also found myself immersed in their lives. Some dark secrets and surprises to be found throughout! And that’s all I’m telling you.
What I will bang on about is the absolute brilliance that Angela Clarke has created with her sense of place. I don’t know if you have ever been inside a prison but she nails it perfectly! I’ve been in a couple of times (in a work-related capacity!) and while I was not in the body of the Kirk, in the halls so to speak, there is a very very real sense of being enclosed and incarcerated as soon as you step through the doors and are processed into the institution. Magnify this a million times over and you could not bottle what she has put on the page. The tension, the noise, the fear, the smells, the hope, the brutality, corruption- they all jump out from the pages and grab you in, making you their very own prisoner until you turn the last page. That sense of life being carved into units of time within the prison walls, association time, work time, visiting time, lock up time, meal time, education time – Angela Clarke captured it perfectly.
I couldn’t help but empathise with Jenna and imagine what it must be like to be locked up for something that you didn’t do. The fear was real. And imagine being locked up for something that other prisoners will find so heinous that you cannot afford for them to discover your true identity. “On My Life” took me by the hand on Jenna’s journey with her. I witnessed her terror and her trust; her friendships and her enemies and her life crashing down round about her. I cried real snotty tears reading this book. It really does make you think about real life and real situations. This is compounded by the facts about female prisons, prisoners and pregnancy while in prison, which the author includes at the end. It is a harrowing but brutal truth. On My Life covers the very real issues pregnant women, going to prison face from the institutional lack of supports to the risk of harm to themselves and their unborn children. I’d defy anyone to read that and not have an ounce of compassion in their bodies.
This was one of those books that I didn’t want to put down yet nor did I want it to end. I was completely engrossed in it and it occupied my mind constantly. It was twisted and I definitely did not work out what was going to happen! It kept me on my toes right up until the very end! Even if I had of worked it out in the first chapter none of that would have spoiled my enjoyment of this novel! This is an outstanding read and I urge you to get out and buy it!
On My Life is available to purchase from: