I love books that open with strangers meeting on a train, a plane, or in this case, a water bus. There's a wealth of directions that a plot could travel from such an opener. Do they reveal personal details? Or is it just nice to have met some fellow commuters suffering the drudge of getting to work?
Jamie and Kit meet on the water bus and it turns out that their partners also work together. Jamie and Clare are older, but they enjoy Kit and Melia's company. Fast forward - Kit goes missing and the police want to question Jamie.
Okay, that's the (very) short version. There is so much that happens between that initial meeting and Kit going missing. Friendship, rivalry, truth, lies, secrets....and guess what? Yup, someone's lying.
The Other Passenger is told through Jamie's eyes - his thoughts, his actions, his recounting of what Clare did or thought, his opinion and take on Kit and Melia, as well as the other two members of the 'Water Rats' that take the water bus. And while I felt like I should be on Jamie's side, I had a hard time with that. I didn't find him to be likable, actually I didn't like any of the four main players. I do applaud Candlish's skill in creating them. They're perfectly unlikable.
But what's even better is Candlish's plotting! She adroitly manipulates the listener, taking us down one path, only to jump the hedge with no warning and take us in a completely different direction. (I actually rewound a couple of times, just to make sure I had hear right!) Detailed, devious and downright diabolical. And the ending? Not what I expected at all, but very fitting.
This was a first listen/reading of Louise Candlish and it most definitely won't be my last. Excellent!
I chose to listen to The Other Passenger. The narrator was BAFTA-nominated actor Steven Mackintosh. What a fantastic choice!
And how about this!? "Candlish said: "I'm guessing it's rare for a character in a novel to be written for a specific actor, but I've been a huge Steve Mackintosh fan for decades and always had him in mind for Jamie. He brings him to life with such charisma and sardonic menace. This is a very special treat for audio lovers - and for me!"
Mackinstosh has such a wonderfully expressive voice. He immediately draws you into the story and keeps you there, listening to just one more chapter, then another. Mackinstosh takes that unlikable character and gives the perfect tone - an innocent caught up in something beyond him, but then smug and condescending. His inner thoughts are very well played. His voice is easy to understand (British accent). This was interesting - Jamie is quite nervous at times and Mackintosh's swallows to highlight the character's state of mine. Odd, but it totally worked. His pace of speaking is just right, pausing to punctate and point or thought.An excellent performance. Hear for yourself - listen to an audio excerpt of The Other Passenger.