Author – Simon Lelic
Published – 2010
Genre – Crime fiction / Mystery
After reviewing “The Child Who” it was suggested by Jackie of Farm Lane Books that Lelic’s first book – Rupture – was worth a read and I was lucky to pick this copy up in a charity shop.
The premise of the book is that a teacher has walked into his school assembly and opened fire, he kills three pupils and another teacher before turning the gun on himself. I actually read this a while ago but was reminded of it when reading Black Chalk. Rupture feels like the more realistic portrayal of the aftermath such an event.
The story is told from Lucia’s point of view – she’s a young DI who is being pressured by her boss to close her current investigation into the shooting, something that seems like an open and shut case to everyone else. The backstory is provided by transcripts or one-sided dialogue which are interspersed throughout. They’re a clever way of introducing the background but a little distracting as they’re one-sided and it can take a while to work out who is talking and what they’re talking about.
What gradually unfolds is a brutal story about the treatment of someone who others see as an outsider and the willingness of those in authority to turn a blind eye. Some of the scenes were truly horrible and made for uncomfortable reading, but in Lelic’s hands seemed completely plausible. The story of the teacher is also mirrored by two other plotlines in the book – one dealing with another pupil and the other with Lucia herself. As the reader it’s easy to see those at fault who have allowed the bullying to spiral out of control, and interesting to see how blind the characters are to their own responsibility.
The characters are well-written and you’re really drawn in by them, especially with Lucia, who is so frustrated by the inaction of others but who really needs to act for herself.
Score – 4/5