The Night Book- Manslaughter or Murder? 

So this is my first Richard Madeley novel and I loved it. To be honest, 300 pages into reading and I actually had no idea that I was reading a Richard Madeley novel – as in Richard Madeley from the Richard & Judy Book Club until my mum pointed it out. I have to say I am big fan of the couple as they are strong advocates for getting people to read through their book club.

I have never read any of Richard Madeley’s books and after reading this one, I am going to hunt down the rest. I steamrolled through this book. It’s a gripping thriller about a woman who is trapped in a horrible marriage but what will be her way out? It is the hottest summer in the Lake District in 1976 and the heat is on in all senses: strange things seem to be occurring – a numerous amount of drownings but how do the two tie in? You’ll have to read it to find out!

Apparently this is not his first thriller (The Way You Look Tonight) that Richard Madeley has written, although he writes as if he is James Patterson – someone who has been writing thrillers for years. Richard Madeley has this great fluidity in his style that keeps you gripped to your seat throughout the novel.

In terms of characters ,they came across as very relatable and people that we all have in our lives. I really like his main character Meriel: she is a headstrong, passionate career woman. The mix between her character and her situation will make everyone read her and say there is a bit of me in her or you know someone like her. What I like most about her character is that she is never stagnant; she is developing throughout the novel. And I love the way he developed her as a character, so you saw every angle of her personality which made her seem real and relatable.

The two lead male characters in this book are such a great contrast in character and in the depth of the characters. Seb, the softie (as I like to call him): you really feel sorry for him throughout the book; he is such young naive chap (speaking as a 21 year old). But you do feel very attached to him as a character because he has that youth that is very relatable. Cameron, on the other hand, you consistently hate, even after he has died, you still think how can someone be that evil. He is like that uber-controlling boss that you just want to tell to F off (Foxtrot Oscar)!

I have to touch on the big factor in this story that has really captivated me which is whether Meriel should be given the charge of manslaughter or murder. Madeley addresses the issue in many ways from the legal side of the coroner to Meriel’s thoughts to describe the act she committed. It’s a tough one but I have come to a decision myself that it was manslaughter, because of the impulse of the act and background of her relationship with her husband.

Another aspect that I really liked about the book was that you got every characters perspective and thoughts. It gave more of a depth to the book. Also you got every side to the story which allowed you to asses the situation of Meriel and her husband in a balanced way. You almost feel like a detective while reading this book.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is definitely a summer page-turner. It was very intriguing and offer a fresh angle on the thriller genre. Although I do have one minor moan. I couldn’t stand the ending. I found it too cliched – the usual drive into the sunset nonsense. I think the reason it disappointed me was because I had spent the rest of the book on the edge of my seat, so it felt anti-climactic. Apart from that, it was a fantastic read and very relatable to the audience. Anyone who loves a good thriller or intriguing characters should read this.

As usual, please comment below. I would especially love to hear your opinions on the murder vs manslaughter charge!

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