Author: K. L. Slater
Publication date: 15 February 2017
Genre: Psychological thriller
What would you do if your child disappeared from their school, a seemingly safe environment? How would you cope if the police told you they were doing everything possible but still had no answer after three years? Who would you blame?
Blink tells the story of Toni, whose five-year-old daughter Evie vanished without a trace. There were no witnesses, no CCTV and, even three years later, very few leads. While much of the book is set in the lead up to Evie going missing, we also see the present day from the unique perspective of a hospital patient assumed to be in a vegetative state but who can actually see and hear everything happening in the room. They are suffering from locked-in syndrome and they know something about Evie that they can’t communicate.
This book kept me guessing until the very end. Full of unexpected twists and red herrings, it made me suspect every character at some point (and, when I’d been reading it without a break for several hours, some people in my real life too!). The characters are well-developed, each with realistic personal issues and traits. The author wasn’t hung up on making sure there was a central ‘likeable’ character and I found myself relating to Toni’s fear and panic, despite her occasionally problematic behaviour. I wasn’t completely convinced by Evie’s voice – it didn’t always sound like the voice of a five year old – but it was such a small part of the book that it didn’t bother me too much.
The ending had one slightly unrealistic red herring which helped to tie everything up neatly but seemed a bit far-fetched to me. I am resisting googling it, lest I find it is based on a true event which would horrify me… Overall though, it was very clever and that one extreme element didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the book. The more I think about it, the cleverer the plot gets!
I am eager to pick up more psychological thrillers after being so addicted to Blink. If you have any recommendations, please do let me know in the comments below.
On a final note, K. L. Slater is also the author of two fantastic middle grade novels, Smart and A Seven-Letter Word, writing under the name Kim Slater. Both have a wonderful mystery element and have the same strong narrative drive as Blink. I highly recommend them for any middle grade readers!