An Honest Deceit – Guy Mankowski
‘Mum where do fish go in the winter’ This is how An Honest Deceit by Guy Mankowski opens. Those words will linger with me for some time and when I walk by the river during this winter I will be thinking of these words again.
This book came as a real surprise as I was not quite sure what to expect. What I will say is that this novel is well thought out and brilliantly written. When a book opens with a quote like that you know something is coming but you are not quite sure what. This is a story of every parent’s nightmare. Now read on.
Ben and Juliette are just normal parents with the normal every day worries that every parent has. When you send your child to school you expect your child to be under the best possible care. Their daughter Marine is off on a school trip but there is an accident and Marine dies. This is the story as told by Ben and the search for the truth as to the death of their daughter while in the care of the school while out on a trip. The grief is that pours out of every page is real and the questions come thick and fast. Something is not right and now the grieving parents want answers and they will not rest until the truth is out. For Juliette she is frozen in shock as you can imagine and nothing can change that. This is threatening to tear the family apart. Ben has to step up and be the strong half of the couple and as well as trying to carry on working he will not give up the fight for the truth despite whatever some people think. What if he is wrong and it was just a desperate tragic accident. Ben refuses to think this way. What of Kraver the school headmaster, the reader will take an instant opinion to him as all he seems to care about is the school’s reputation and wants to deflect Ben from continuing the fight for the truth.
You will come to hope that Ben will succeed in finding out what really happened to his daughter on that fateful day and you urge him on with every turn of the page. Ok I will admit I wanted to thump Kraver if not knock him into the next century. Hidden in the story are corruption and lie after lie ad Ben has to dig deep and fight for an investigation to be launched but at times it seems he is fighting a losing battle but Ben will not give up the fight for Marine. There are times in the book that some readers will find difficult and uncomfortable. The emotions are raw and real.
This is not just good it is brilliant as the story starts to burn away at the reader, questions come thick and fast at times the complexity can get in the way but this just adds to the tension on every page. Guy Mankowski is a real talent for telling a story and keeping the reader guessing right to the very last moments.
I am highly recommending An Honest Deceit as one book that you must read before this year is out. It really is that good. ‘Mum where do fish go in the winter’ will be the words you will remember.
Thank you to Matthew at Urbane Publications for the advanced review copy.
An Honest Deceit by Guy Mankowski is published by Urbane Publications and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops.