I’m delighted to be sharing my review of “What She Saw Last Night” from M.J Cross. A new standalone from thriller writer, Mason Cross. I bought this book at one of the author’s recent events and I’ve been dying to read it for ages!
Before I share my thoughts, here’s what the official blurb says:
No one will believe … WHAT SHE SAW LAST NIGHT.
Jenny Bowen is going home. Boarding the Caledonian Sleeper, all she wants to do is forget about her upcoming divorce and relax on the ten-hour journey through the night.
In her search for her cabin, Jenny helps a panicked woman with a young girl she assumes to be her daughter. Then she finds her compartment and falls straight to sleep.
Waking in the night, Jenny discovers the woman dead in her cabin … but there’s no sign of the little girl. The train company have no record of a child being booked on the train, and CCTV shows the dead woman boarding alone.
The police don’t believe Jenny, and soon she tries to put the incident out of her head and tells herself that everyone else is right: she must have imagined the little girl.
But deep down, she knows that isn’t the truth.
In a step away from his high octane, US based thrillers, Mason Cross has come home to the UK with What She Saw Last Night. Now I don’t know if you have ever travelled on the sleeper from London to Scotland (I did many years ago – thank God this book wasn’t out then!) but if not and you are considering it then you might be travelling with a greater awareness of your surroundings!
Jenny Bowen is harassed and stressed when she just makes the Caledonian sleeper back up to Scotland from London. She’s got a lot on her mind with her recent separation and the death of her father. She pays little attention to the young woman and child in the compartment next to her, other than to pick up the child’s soft toy. But when she wakes up and discovers the young woman dead and the child missing, it soon becomes clear to Jenny that there is something far wrong. Jenny is the only person who saw the child. Nobody else believes she exists and there is no evidence of her boarding the train!
The author has created a fantastic sense of place, from the remoteness of the Scottish Highlands, to the frenetic streets of London and the claustrophobic confines of the sleeper, he really does pick you up and place you at the heart of the story.
Short sharp chapters make it perfect for that “just one more chapter” moment and gives the story a great pace. He creates an authentic feeling of foreboding as Jenny begins her own investigation and my tummy started to churn as little snippets pointing to something bad happening are dropped in.
A tightly plotted narrative and well drawn out characters alongside the ratcheting up of suspense all the way through had my heart hammering! There was one character, who I will not name, who gave me the major creeps and combined with the scenes on the train probably means I’ll never be comfortable on a train journey again.
I also loved the little tip of the hat to the third sector in the book and you can see where the author’s background comes into play here.
Although I said at the start that the author had taken a step away from the high octane thriller don’t be mistaken and think this is some cosy crime! There’s actually plenty of octane in there and it’s pretty damn high level!
Expertly plotted and perfectly placed What She Saw Last Night will have you racing full steam ahead all the way through!
What She Saw Last Night is available to purchase from: