Five hostages, one café – and the moment that changed everything.

A regular weekday morning veers drastically off-course for five strangers whose paths cross in a London café – their lives never to be the same again when an apparently crazed gunman holds them hostage.

But there is more to the situation than first meets the eye and as the captives grapple with their own inner demons, the line between right and wrong starts to blur. Will the secrets they keep stop them from escaping with their lives?

Published by Atlantic on the 7th May 2020, 352 pages

The plot concept for this book is very simple, strangers trapped in a café by a gun man, each with their own secrets, but that is the only simple thing about this book.

The way the author works each of their stories into the narrative is brilliant and I could not put this book down. We learn about the gunman, his past and what has brought him to this whilst also learning about each of the hostages as they communicate with each other for comfort and to get through the upsetting event. We also get the perspective of the hostage negotiator which I though was very clever and worked very well. The characters are complex and pull on your heart strings.

This was the first book by Charity Norman that I have read but I certainly will be looking for more by her in the future.

If you enjoyed three hours then I definitely think you will enjoy this book, it is not the same and it didn’t have the same urgency at the end that three hours did but it had a quicker pace at the start and was a fantastic read.

Thank you to @annecater and @AllenAndUnwin and Kate at @AtlanticBooks for my #gifted copy in exchange for review.

Charity Norman was born in Uganda and brought up in successive draughty vicarages in Yorkshire and Birmingham. After several years’ travel she became a barrister, specialising in crime and family law. In 2002, realising that her three children had barely met her, she took a break from the law and moved with her family to New Zealand. THE SECRETS OF STRANGERS is her sixth novel.

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