Book review: The Other People, C. J. Tudor


Since starting working full time, I have noticed a significant decrease in how much time I am dedicating to reading. This is partly due to an obviously much busier weekly schedule, but also because I simply keep opting to spend my evenings watching Netflix or YouTube instead - a habit I need to get out of. When I make time, I love reading in the evenings before bed since it really relaxes me and makes drifting off to sleep that bit easier. As well as that, keeping my eyes off screens as much as possible after I've been working on them all day is definitely going to be beneficial in the long run.


In all honesty, it seemed to take me an age to finish this book, however that is definitely not a testament to my enjoyment levels since I actually really liked this novel. My favourite genre of film has always been a psychological thriller or a supernatural-stroke-horror, as mentioned in my previous book review of The Silent Patient, so I knew this book would tick boxes when my Mum recommended it.


Plot

The story follows the life of Gabe who is desperately searching for his missing family, spending his life travelling the motorway day in, day out. The longer he searches, the more he begins to unravel the truth about what happened, himself and The Other People.


For me, I found the plot to be the highlight of the book. It followed quite an unusual yet gripping and intense storyline, something I could imagine to be popular if carried out as a movie. Right from the beginning you were left with unanswered mysteries and a serious case of "how is this possible", meaning it was difficult to even put the book down at times. I honestly had no idea how the plot would pan out throughout the entire book. This made it an interesting and intriguing read and proved the narrative had been well thought out. However, after the continual plot twists and turns I did anticipate the ending to hold quite the ground-breaking revelation to leave the reader feeling entirely bamboozled - which it did not deliver. In contrast, the ending tied everything together nicely and left me without any pondering thoughts - which is something I admittedly quite like from a conclusion. Although perhaps not in keeping with the rest of the plot, I thought the ending was satisfying and I wouldn't say I felt any real disappointment.


Throughout the book, the plot was told from the point of view of different key characters. Initially, their relevance to one another is extremely unclear but this only adds to the heightened suspense that builds. As the characters become interlinked, it increases the excitement and desire to read on to know more. Since the point of view only changes at the start of a new chapter, it is easy to keep track of who is who and which perspective is being used at the time.


Something I did want to address was the supernatural element of the story. It was only quite a minor addition and, I have to say, I didn't feel it was at all necessary. Nothing was added by including it, although nothing was detracted either, making it somewhat feel like a cheap addition to the plot. As I said, I love a good supernatural storyline and find them very engrossing, but the small part this played was very underwhelming. Supernatural elements only do well if they are, in some sense, believable. By this, I don't mean that they are likely to happen to yourself in every day life, however they must fit the prowess of the novel and be built up to or explained in the context of the story. I felt in this case, Tudor had simply used the supernatural element as an easy way to tie up some loose ends, with no build up or explanation to it's occurrence. Even after the scene, it is merely never addressed by the characters as if it was an entirely normal happening. Although this element was disappointing, it didn't effect my overall positive view of the book.


Characters

As I mentioned, the plot is told from the points of view of three of the main characters; Gabe, Katie and Fran. Throughout a lot of the book, the reader is quite unaware on how all of their stories are going to link, hearing various excerpts from both their past and present.


With the reader being quite in the dark, it's difficult to form solid opinions on the characters, and as the story develops their multi-dimensional nature becomes more apparent. Personally, I love it when authors provide characters that have many layers, with new, unexpected things about them being revealed during the course of the plot. Whilst you can feel more connected to a flatter, simpler character, it doesn't add the excitement and suspense required in this type of thriller book. Therefore, I feel the characters portrayed by Tudor were ideal for the storyline.


I'd class Gabe as the central protagonist as well as the character you feel most involved with. Given the loss and devastation we are aware he has experienced from the offset, you do feel yourself rooting for him and hoping he endures some positivity. Katie and Fran aren't as easy to connect with, but I enjoyed the constant suspense of how their backgrounds would unfold to have got them in the situations they were in, as well as how this would inevitably link to Gabe's own circumstance. Overall, I think the characters Tudor created were ideal for the novel type and I enjoyed unravelling them as the tale progressed.

Writing style

The writing style of this book was nothing to particularly shout about. It followed a similar style to most other psycho-thriller fiction books, enough description to keep you engaged and immersed but not too much that it detracts from the central developing plot. Books of this genre I don't feel lend themselves to overly complex, intricate language since in nature they focus on the ability to surprise and mentally engage the reader through the plot. Adding an advanced writing style on top of this would give too much complexity to maintain engagement in the story. I believe I found a similar thing when reviewing The Silent Patient, a book of a similar genre.


Three words to describe this book

Intense, gripping and exciting.

Final comments

I am extremely glad my Mum recommended (and lent) this to me to read. Often I choose my books based on reviews or recommendations seen online, however I have never seen The Other People spoken about before.


This book is very different from all I have read recently, which made me enjoy it even more. As I said, I've always loved films of this genre and so reading a book of the same was really enjoyable and kept me hooked the entire way through. It did feel like I was watching a mini film in my mind every time I picked this up, which shows Tudor did an excellent job of allowing the reader to feel immersed into the action. An unusual plot is always a winner, and I hope to find some other, similar books to get in my 'To Read' pile very soon. In conclusion, I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a fast paced, gripping storyline - even if at first glance the blurb gives off a peculiar impression, I promise it doesn't disappoint.


Have you ever read this book or any others by C. J. Tudor? What did you think? Let me know in the comments and please do share any book recommendations you have yourselves!

0 comments