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  • review by Paul Burston

Take Me In

Sabine Durrant’s new novel could just as easily have been called ‘The Book of Dave’. But that title is already taken – by Will Self, no less – and this one has echoes of her last title, the best-selling ‘Lie With Me’. Presumably her publisher is hoping this book will have a similar impact.

It ought to. Dave is the man who disrupts the lives of Marcus and Tessa – not by having an affair with her, but by saving their small boy Josh from drowning. The incident takes place on a Greek island – again, shades of ‘Lie With Me’ – and the repercussions follow our unhappy couple home to leafy south London.

Like many domestic thrillers, this book puts a middle-class marriage under scrutiny, exposing the secrets couples keep and the lies people tell. The story is told in alternating chapters, from the points of view of Marcus and Tessa. Often the same events are described by both parties, and we see the gaping chasm between them.

Durrant has a keen understanding of social embarrassment and the class system. Tessa’s background makes her feel like an impostor in her own home, and the arrival of Dave with his tattoos, muscles and meaty fists adds to her sense of unease. The scene where she and Marcus host a dinner party for their posh new friends bristles with tension.

As things escalate and the plot hurtles to its dramatic conclusion, the chapters become shorter and more urgent. The final twist isn’t entirely unexpected, but it’s deftly handled and delivers a killer blow. Blisteringly good stuff.

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