Cover Image: All the Hidden Truths

All the Hidden Truths

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Member Reviews

The story begins with Ryan Summers, a college student, thinking in his confused mind that he has his mother Moira’s blessing, walkes into his college and shoots dead 13 of his female colleagues before turning the gun on himself. Moira is left thinking that she could have prevented this from happening if she had monitored Ryan closer since his dad’s death.
Isabel Hodgekiss, the mother of Abigail, Ryan’s primary target, is determined to find out why her daughter died and forms an unusual relationship with Moira.
Det. Insp. Helen Birch, who has just been promoted and has her own issues is put in charge of the case.
These three women’s lives form the major part of this story.
Compulsive reading.
 Claire  Askew has some great ideas for crime fiction.
Thank you to Net Galley for the opportunity to review this book.
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A teenager, Ryan Summers, shoots thirteen girls at his college but why did he do it? This is the story of how Ryan’s mother makes sense of it and how her world collides with that this of his first victim.
This is less a thriller and more a precise  psychological study where every expression and feeling is observed. . I found the pace a little slow in parts,  but its beauty is in its intensity.
It’s almost like a camera lingering on every nuance of the aftermath of this terrible day. 
A very self-assured debut novel and a powerful read.
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It's been nearly a month since I finished 'All the hidden truths' by Claire Askew and I still can't get it out of my head. Is it because it was set in Edinburgh which is just across the water from my little home town in Fife? Is it because all the characters are so fully developed and REAL that you feel every single ounce of their pain? Is it because the story line of a school shooting is one of the most horrendous acts imaginable? I think it is a mixture of all of the above plus Askew's incredible talent to keep you accelerating through the pages. 

I haven't seen multiple perspectives used in such an informing and varied way before. By using 1 of the victims mothers, the shooters mother and a detective as the 3 main protagonists you really get a full and rare inside look into all accounts of the tragedy and the absolute devastation left behind. 

I would recommend this book to everyone who enjoys adult fiction with a side of mystery/thriller. Thanks to Netgalley for the free ARC in return for an honest review.
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I read this in the same week that a shooting took place at a video game tournament in Florida. This book had me hooked from the start. I really enjoyed the different narrative perspectives throughout the novel, particularly that of the shooter’s mother, a voice which is so often quashed.
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It was my first book by Askew, and I'm not disappointed. The story takes place after a college shooting in Edinburgh. It's told from 3 different perspectives: The mother of the first victim, lead police investigator and mother of the shooter. From then on, we're trying to bring the pieces together and understand the reasons behind this cruel event. 
I liked the characters, the complexity of relationships and life portrayed in this book. You'd guess from the subject that it's very emotional, heartbreaking, but moving. The write used interesting styles that re up to date like Tweets, diary entries, etc. I liked this diversity as well. It was really intersting and a very good debut. Recommended. 

Thanks to Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for approving this book, in exchange for an honest review.
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Ryan walks into College on a ‘normal’ morning......and shoots dead 13 of his student colleagues
The shock, anger and grief is palpable as the story is then taken up by Moira ( his Mum ), Ishbel ( one of his victims Mum’s ) and Helen ( charge of the case ) 
I found this an emotional and moving book, an almost private book of people, from very differing perspectives trying to deal with what had happened  
The writing challenged you on your perception of sympathy and who was rightly or wrongly receiving it and how people as a whole react to such a tragedy
Intercepted with Twitter posts, news reports and online media reports that added to that feeling you were actually experiencing this event first hand
The descriptive writing of feelings and utter devastation are hard to describe other than to say, again, you could almost taste the raw emotion
As an aside I loved the setting being Edinburgh and the way the area and landmarks were written about 
This book is not one to be easily forgotten, and wont be
Raw, Real, Expressive and Challenging
10/10 5 stars
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Many thanks to Claire Askew, Hodder and Stoughton and NetGalley for an ARC of All the Hidden Truths in return for an honest review.
  This book focuses upon a shooting at an Edinburgh college and the devastating aftermath. 
 Ryan Summers walks into the Three Rivers College at 0830 on the 14th of May.  He shoots dead thirteen females before killing himself.  DI Helen Birch, is one of the investigating officers,  She is newly promoted and working within a new department, this is her first major investigation, and she has to face this horrific and life changing event.  We see her learning on the job and working underneath a difficult DCI. 
   Moira Summers, Ryan's Mum is in turmoil.  Trying both to deal with her sons death, and with the fact that he is responsible for thirteen deaths, her life is shattered and her heart broken.   She is faced with death threats, and is placed under police protection much to the contempt of the public.  This hatred is fuelled by investigative journalist Grant Lockley, who interferes in the investigation at every stage. Moira, is shocked, confused and feels guilty.  Questions are raised as to whether Moira knew what Ryan was going to do, whilst not being aware of his intentions there is something she seems to be holding back from the police.
  Ishbel Hodgekiss, is the mother of Abigail.  Abigail was Ryans first shooting victim and there appears to be certain facts about her that Ishbel did not know.  Slimy journalist Grant Lockley takes great pleasure in detailing some of the facts about Abigail, soiling her memory.  Ishbel is broken, recent arguments with Abigail play on her mind and leave her plagued with both guilt and grief.
  Told from the perspective of these three females, we see the heartbreaking aftermath of the shooting.  A very compelling read, poignant, beautifully written and thought provoking.
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An intriguing story which deals with a campus shooting in Scotland where all the victims are young women shot dead by one of their male classmates. The unfolding story is told from the point of view of three women: Det Insp. Helen Birch who responds to the scene, Ishbel, the mother of Abigail who was the first victim, and Moira, mother of the perpetrator, Ryan.  Each of them has some upheaval in their lives, Birch has just been promoted when she is thrust into a high-profile case, Ishbel and Abigail have been rowing about Abigail's boyfriend and other life choices, and Moira lost her husband a few years earlier and is still grieving. 

The plot itself and the chapters dealing with the shooting itself and immediately afterwards were gripping, but I felt the main female characters let it down slightly. Personally I'm fed up of reading about middle-aged women who seem to be paralysed by ennui and feel drab and unloved, and put up with all manner of bad behaviour from the people in their lives. It seems to be a trend at the moment to have at least one of these characters in books, and it makes it difficult to empathise with the character because you end up incredibly frustrated with them. Overall I would give this book 3.5 stars.

Thanks to NetGalley and publishers, Hodder & Stoughton, for the opportunity to review an ARC.
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School or college shootings are difficult to understand. What is it that prompts such a violent response? This question is the focus of the debut novel by Clare Askew. Narrated from three points of view it covers the immediate aftermath of a shooting at a college in Edinburgh. The points of view are those of Moira, the mother of Ryan Summers, the shooter, Ishbel, mother of Abigail the first victim to be killed and Helen the DI in charge of the investigation. 

The subject matter of this novel is extremely disquieting and I found this a difficult read in the sense that it made me uncomfortable. In many ways it seemed to be very true to life. The reactions of the public towards Moira are vengeful, there is a widespread feeling that she must have suspected he would do something like that and that she did nothing to stop it. Or if not, was she some sort of monster who did something awful to make her son a sociopath? But did she know anything or is she completely innocent of all she is suspected of? Grant Lockley, surely the most obnoxious  journalist ever to populate the pages of fiction is determined to find out. He needles away at her and at the other two protagonists in such a way that it would have been no surprise if one of them had reacted violently towards him. 

It's difficult to know how to react to this book in the sense of would I recommend it. It is very readable, the characters are well drawn, there is a satisfying denouement at the end. So, yes I would recommend it but with the caveat that some readers might find it more disturbing than they are expecting. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.
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What makes this one different is the setting to other books on the same topic is this is based in UK. Since Dunblane firearms have been heavily regulated so mercifully occurrences like this are rare over here; this novel brings the horror of school shootings closer to home.  The question posed throughout book is why? What makes a young adult turn into a mass murderer? It is a difficult topic to read but Claire Askew's sensitive manner made me  feel for all those left behind. Heart strings were pulled and I  connected with all the characters from the mums of the victims, Moira to Helen the newly promoted detective inspector placed in charge of the case. They were realistic characters who have their strengths and flaws. With turns I wasn't expecting I stayed up until the early hours of the morning to finish.
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This moving story details the aftermath of a rare mass shooting in Scotland. A number of themes are examined, including press ethics and how bereavement frequently throws up many buried secrets. 

Askew handles her subject skilfully and tactfully, producing a novel which is bittersweet and touching with a few nice little twists along the way. A must read.

Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC without obligation.
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Once I got into this book I couldn’t put It down. It was a really good read, that really makes you think
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A very well written book that deals with such a very sad story. The tragic tale goes into intricate detail of the impact that the incident has on multiple people. This book really explores human emotion in its most raw form.
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I enjoyed reading this book and it was a very topical subject. Invasion of a college by a student with issues and the shooting of other pupils.  The book was based around Edinburgh and the author (I felt) had good knowledge of the city.  What I liked especially was the story didn't centre on the event too much. It told the story of one of the victim's family also the effect on the perpetrator's mother. What are the hidden truths about an event like this? Well read the book and you will find out.
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An excellent story that leaves the reader with plenty to think about long after the book is finished. I would definitely recommend it
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This novel is set in the aftermath of a college shooting in Edinburgh and the narrative is between three different voices; the mother of the shooter, the mother of the first victim & the lead police investigator. Will they ever be able to make sense of this horrific event? The complexities of life are portrayed realistically by the gripping characters in their range of emotions and the heartbreaking questions they ask themselves. Askew uses a variety of writing styles from webpage excerpts, twitter updates, diary entries, and police interviews to reveal unexpected truths and highlight the predatory impact of the media. This is a brave, bold and brilliant debut and will stay with you long after you finish the last page.

Thanks to Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for sending me this in exchange for an open and honest review.
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An interesting, engaging,  unusual read. For some of the time I heard myself thinking “where is this going” but it’s uniqueness is it’s main quality. Amazing that this is the author’s first novel. I think this lady had much more to give and I look forward to reading her next work
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I have just finished this book, I am not quite sure how I feel about it.  It is the story of a school massacre and the effect that this barbaric event has on the mother of the boy who did the killings, but also the mother of one of the murdered students.
The story deals with the police handling of the  case and the intrusive behaviour of a journalist, determined to get a scoop at any cost.
It is not really a very comfortable read as you do feel a bit voyeuristic. 
It was nice to read about Edinburgh and there was a strong sense of placement.
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A fantastic read. The book is full of surprises that kept me enthralled from the start. I loved the fact that although it could have been a dry topic of a school shooting it looked at the aspects that are normally ignored. I found the book emotionally thought provoking.
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Loved this book, i couldn’t put it down, I found the plot very exciting and it was thrilling the way the story unfolded. I enjoyed the main characters in this book. Highly recommended. 

Many thanks to Netgalley and Claire Askew for the copy of this book. I agreed to give my unbiased opinion voluntarily.
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