Cover Image: All the Hidden Truths

All the Hidden Truths

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Member Reviews

Full review to come.
I deeply apologize, but life is a handful lately and I'm using all my free time to read, not review. I hope everybody understands.
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Very emotive and topical story with a gunman on the rampage in a college. told from the perspective of the mother of the gunman, mother of one of the victims and D.I. Helen Birch who is in charge of the case. Tragedy from beginning to end.
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Read and reviewed thanks to a free copy from NetGalley. This book was gripping from the start, it veered away from traditional thrillers and explored more of the emotion and grief behind tragedy than your standard police procedural book. The characters were well written and I enjoyed the inclusion of social media and the Internet's response to the tragedy. I found the ending really satisfying.
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On a seemingly normal morning in an Edinburgh college campus, 20-year-old Ryan Summers shoots dead thirteen female students and then himself. All The Hidden Truths follows three female characters as they try and come to terms with the events that have happened: Monica, Ryan's mother; Ishbel, the mother of one of the girls killed in the shooting; and Helen, a police officer who is in charge of the case.

There were many ways that this book really hit the nail on the head in terms of what I like to read. What with all of the shootings in America (and no change to the gun laws! This is something that I can talk about for hours), I'm fascinated by how novels approach such a potentially sensitive topic. I think Claire did a really good job - she was sensitive but still gave me all the detail I wanted to know.

I also enjoyed the different perspectives, and I think that they were all necessary to the story. Helen's level-headedness contrasted sharply with Ishbel's obvious devastation, and I was intrigued by Monica, who claimed to have no idea that her son was going to be involved in a shooting and yet still carried a sense of guilt with her. I think that Monica was probably my favourite character: I found her fascinating.

However, as much as I enjoyed these aspects, the novel as a whole fell a little flat for me. I was exhausted by the constant descriptions of Ishbel crying and bored by the Daily Mail-esque reporter who the whole public seemed to be behind. There were little parts of how the aftermath of the shooting played out that just didn't sit right with me, and I can't quite pinpoint why. 

So, for all of my likes and dislikes, I've ended up right in the middle. A solid story, but not without its faults. 3/5
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A college shooting in Edinburgh, as seen through the eyes of the female detective assigned to investigate, the mother of the shooter and mother of a victim. It’s half a crime story and half a study of how these events hit people and society and their reactions.

Nicely written and well plotted, great characterisation. Evocative of this issue and raises the question how would you react? 

Worth a read for sure.
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This is a police procedural with a difference set in Edinburgh.

That the author knows the city well is evident but she is/was a writer in residence at the uni there, so not surprising that she set her debut novel there.

The author's voice is clear and well styled but I did initially find the the way the story was et out into different people and time lines confusing. But then I 'got it' and was able to manage and found it interesting stylistically.

I thought there were some nice reader questions that came through when reading the sections, for instance 'What is she hiding?'; 'Did she know?'; 'Why did he do it?'; which kept you reading as you wanted to know the answers. And it follows a story that we are finding the truths hard to stomach - why do young people want to shoot their peers? At least with some gun control this is curtailed but...

I thought the reflections on how difficult it is to be an outsider as a teenager were well described; and also just how hormones can deflect morals and beliefs, and thus cai=use your people to things they would not have normally considered using a rational mind and thought process.

Overall a promising novelist and a series to follow surely.
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All the Hidden Truths touches a nerve. It is topical as it tackles the most disturbing challenges of modern times: gun violence and the media intrusion on victims’ and their families’ privacy. 

After a fatal shooting at Three Rivers College in Edinburgh, three women’s lives are brought into the spotlight: Moira’s (the mother of the shooter), Ishbel (the mother of his first victim) and DI Birch (the investigating officer). Askew digs deep to exploretheir reactions and how they transform under pressure from the ever-present and unscrupulous attention of the press. 

Row emotions are dissected with sensitivity and great insights, family secrets are revealed and some difficult questions answered. Askew makes poignant observations about the nature of gun crime where everyone ends up a victim, including the perpetratorand the society overall.

The resolution is most satisfying and Askew leads us towards it with skill and conviction.
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The book starts with a school shooting, you know who did it, how they did it and who died, what you don't know is why. 

Told from the view point of a victim's mother and the shooters mother, this engaging story gives great perspectives on tragedy. These characters were well formed and believable. 

The police characters, were less well formed and a little flat but not annoyingly so. 

Overall an enjoyable read that kept me engaged
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Release date: 9 August 2018
Back cover blurb: This is a fact: Ryan Summers walked into Three Rivers College and killed thirteen women, then himself. But no one can say why. The question is one that cries out to be answered - by Ryan's mother, Moira; by Ishbel, the mother of Abigail, the first victim; and by DI Helen Birch, put in charge of the case on her first day at her new job. But as the tabloids and the media swarm, as the families' secrets come out, as the world searches for someone to blame... the truth seems to vanish. A stunningly moving novel from an exciting new voice in crime, ALL THE HIDDEN TRUTHS will cause you to question your assumptions about the people you love, and reconsider how the world reacts to tragedy.

This is a fact. 

Ryan Summers killed THIRTEEN women before turning the gun upon himself. 

But no one can say why.

And so it begins...

The opening pages of this novel almost read like an american thriller, and then you realise that you are in Edinburgh, Scotland, with relatable characters and chilling detail, and it becomes a very different opening.

Three Rivers College is under attack from a lone gunman, college student, Ryan Summers.

Abigail Hodgekiss is Ryan Summers' first victim.

No one knows why.

Her Mother is determined to find out.

Told from three very differing perspectives; Ishbel Hodgekiss, Abigail Hodgekiss' Mother, Moira Summers, Ryan’s Mother and newly promoted DI Helen Birch, all the hidden truths is a complex character study that really allows the reader an insight into all aspects of the horrific shooting.

As a reader it is a novel that really makes you think. When these horrific events happen, we often don't consider all sides of the story;

What makes someone take someones else's life? How do you live with your child's murder? How do you live with your child being a murderer? So many unanswerable questions, yet this author does her best to answer them in this though provoking novel.

All the hidden truths is an amazing debut that will leave you contemplating the novel a long time after you've finished it.
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I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley,  Claire Askews debut novel, And what a novel. Up to date and relevant subject.
sometimes disturbing , but such a compelling read. A must read , very well written. Will be adding this author to my must reads. Thankyou
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Could. not. put. it. down! It was everything I had expected and more. it kept me hooked and turning pages from the start.
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thank you yo net galley and the publishers for letting me read and review this book.
I was not to keen on the story line. Felt like it should be in America not the UK. Nonetheless a thought provoking book.
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I was blown away by this book, which offers something fresh to the well-worn thriller genre. There have been a lot of real-life shootings in schools, mostly in America but also at Dunblane in Scotland in 1996. I’ve read a few books that tackle this subject matter most notably We Need to Talk about Kevin and This Is How It Ends. I’ve even read a memoir by the mother of one of the Columbine shooters. Yet, All the Hidden Truths managed to surprise me. It’s an emotional and shocking book from the first page and I could not put the book down. The story has three different narrators, a DI who needs to find out why a boy went on a shooting spree at the college, the mother of a victim and the shooter’s mother. This works really well. My heart broke for Moira, the mother of the shooter. She’s demonised by the media and locals, believed to be somehow responsible for her son’s crimes. How could she not have known? All the Hidden Truths is full of twists and turns and a corker of a read.
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Really moving book about a tragic but relevant subject.  I highly recommend it to see more than one side of a story.
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This book was a fantastic page turner. Set in Edinburgh which is just a short drive from my home made it a personally terrifying read. I recognised the setting and felt the mothers pain. Brilliant story telling. Just brilliant
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This book is extremely well written and explores it's difficult subject matter with care and skill. I would recommend this highly
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A pleasantly well-written  book, really hooked me from the first few pages and I am looking forward to read more from Askew.  It's not everyday you bump into a book with a surprisingly good plot, and quality of writing.
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Wow - what a start to a career ! this book is a powerful depiction of the long term impact of High School shootings which are increasingly common in the US. It is set in the authors home town of Edinburgh which makes it really hit home for me,  Scotland has no armed citizens and gun ownership (with the licensed exception of sporting arms) is unlawful, To have Ryan adapt starting guns then showed that Dunblane and the like are still possible in the UK.

The characterisation is amazing, really good job. Moira Ishbell in particular break my heart.  There is part of me that really couldn't understand why DI Birch was so very busy - the police knew who committed the crimes and how (as one observer states near the middle - that said it was compelling reading and I would recommend it to anyone
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This book centres around 3 women, DI Helen Birch, Ishbel Hodgekiss and Moira Summers, three women who are pulled together in devastating circumstances when their is a fatal shooting at a local college with 13 women caught up in the shooting. These women who probably wouldn't have crossed paths now find themselves in the eye of the storm.

Also involved in the plot is Grant Lockley, the typical seedy journalist we all know and loathe, with DI Birch trying to keep him in check, she might just need help from an unexpected source.

This book grabs you from the first page, it reminded me a little of Jodi Picoults 19 minutes - both books equally engaging.

Thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to review this book - this is my own personal opinion.
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From the opening pages we can’t ignore the fact that this story deals with some hard-hitting events, which I couldn’t begin to consider dealing with.
One of our key characters is DI Birch, recently promoted and desperate to make a good job in her new role. The other two narrators are mothers of two characters caught up in the events. Coming from very different places their feelings of loss and questioning what comes next are shared, but we don’t see just how much they have in common until late on.
In the opening of the story we witness a teenage girl and her mother having an argument over something neither can put their finger on. There’s evident tension in their relationship at this point, but neither will speak. The next day - still seething over the events of the night before - Isabel heads into work early. While there she becomes aware - via Twitter- of a shooting in her daughter’s college. Her daughter is killed, along with twelve other female students. 
The shooter, a young man named Ryan, kills himself. Naturally, this leads to a sense of confusion as there are no clear answers given to explain why he did this.
As the book progresses we learn a lot about the procedure involved in investigating such a crime. We get to see some of the awful behaviour from members of the press desperate for their ‘big scoop ‘. Family members learn some difficult truths about their loved ones and there is a palpable sense of a community trying to come to terms with what has happened.
I felt this was quite sprawling in approach, and might have been more impactful if fewer characters were focused on. However, I’d like to thank NetGalley for allowing me to read this in exchange for my thoughts.
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