Saturday 17 August 2013

Review: The Last Minute - Eleanor Updale

9:21 a.m: business as usual on a high street in England.

9:22 a.m: the explosions are heard for miles around, and in the early confusion there is talk of a gas leak, a plane crash, and even terrorism . . . 

The people of Heathwick had been preparing for Christmas unaware that many would die, and the rest would be transformed forever. Travel with them, second-by-second, through the hopes, fears, love, worries, gossip, cruelty, kindness and trivia that dominated their final minute before tragedy struck.

And in the everyday story of an ordinary street, look for clues to what happened - and why.

Visit Eleanor Updale's website for more information

I absolutely loved the way The Last Minute is written, it was so completely different to anything I've ever read before and I found it practically impossible to put the book down. It reminded me of the TV series 24 except instead of each episode covering an hour long time period each chapter of the story covers one second of the last minute before an explosion rocks the sleep village high street of Heathwick. You know from the prologue that something terrible is going to happen and you're left trying to piece everything together and figure out what causes the disaster.

I found myself constantly asking myself questions as I was reading - Is that person a terrorist or are they just an innocent person minding their own business? Why has that white van just been abandoned in the middle of the high street? Why are drivers such morons when there are roadworks? Why is that plane passenger refusing to turn off their mobile phone? Will the beggar get to the punchline of his joke before the explosion happens? Who is going to survive? I'm not going to answer those questions for you here but if you read the book you'll find out all of that and so much more.

I will say that it took me a couple of chapters to get into the swing of reading the story, you are introduced to a huge number of characters and it took a little while to get everyone straight in my head. Some characters have larger roles than others but it doesn't take too long to get a feel for who they all are. What I liked most was that everyone was so normal, they are everyday people who are just going about their day to day lives with no idea of what is about to happen to them. They have the same problems, thoughts, fears and dreams as the rest of us and although you don't have time to get to know them very well you do become surprisingly invested in their lives. In a way it was actually quite scary to think about how normal everything seemed until the explosion hits, very few people even noticed anything suspicious going on around them and you're watching from the sidelines with baited breath just trying to put all of the clues together.

The Last Minute is an edge of your seat read, the pacing is fast and you know that with every chapter that passes you're a second closer to disaster. I devoured this book very quickly and I'm definitely looking forward to reading more from Eleanor Updale in the future. For anyone who has read the book already you really should make sure you checkout the extra information on Eleanor Updale's website. She has created all kinds of newspaper clippings and even an inquiry report to give you more information on exactly what caused the explosion and what happened in the aftermath. Whatever you do don't look at those extras before you've read the book though - it would completely spoil the story for you if you did!

Source: Received from RHCP in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

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