Book Review

Book Review : Strangers on the 16:02 by Priya Basil.

It’s a hot, crowded train. Helen Summers is on her way to see her sister Jill to tell her an awful secret. Another passenger, Kerm, is on his way back from his grandfather’s funeral.

They are strangers, jammed against each other in a crowded carriage. Noisy school kids fill the train – and three of them are about to cause a whole heap of trouble. In the chaos, Helen and Kerm are thrown together in a way they never expected.

Catching a train? Read Strangers on the 16:02 and you’ll never feel the same way about your fellow passengers again.

For the last few years I have eagerly awaited the announcement of the new set of Quick Reads titles, looking forward to whatever Doctor Who story was going to appear. I was disappointed therefore this year that there was no new Doctor Who title. I spotted a book by a friend’s favourite author though and when I went to buy a copy of it for him the cover to Strangers on the 16:02 caught my eye. I read the blurb on the back and was intrigued enough to buy a copy.

The story focuses on two characters, Helen who is on the way to tell her sister a dreadful secret and Kerm who is going home after his grandfather’s funeral. The book begins by concentrating on their individual stories, filling in a little of their history and explaining why they’re on the train. The incident happens that pulls the two characters together comes a fair way into the book, from this point the book moves to a rapid conclusion.

The Quick Reads structure means that the author has relatively little space to explore the characters, I felt that she did a good job of it – I felt I had a good idea about both Helen and Kerm by the end of the book. I liked Kerm in particular, the descriptions of him and his family were vivid and interesting.

I enjoyed reading the book and in general feel it worked well within the Quick Reads structure. My only disappointment was in how quick and sudden the conclusion came. I liked that the ending was designed to leave the reader thinking, for me it was just a little too rapidly pulled together, it felt quite abrupt.

This was the first book I’ve read by Priya Basil. Based on it I shall certainly be reading her other books.

Strangers on the 16:02 is published in paperback by Black Swan in the UK priced £1.99. Whilst I was provided with a review copy of the book all of the opinions expressed are my own.

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