The Secrets of Strangers

(2 customer reviews)

£8.99

A regular weekday morning veers drastically off-course for a group of strangers whose paths cross in a London cafe – their lives never to be the same again when an apparently crazed gunman holds them hostage. But there is more to the situation than first meets the eye and as the captives grapple with their own inner demons, the line between right and wrong starts to blur. Will the secrets they keep stop them from escaping with their lives?

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Description

A regular weekday morning veers drastically off-course for a group of strangers whose paths cross in a London cafe – their lives never to be the same again when an apparently crazed gunman holds them hostage. But there is more to the situation than first meets the eye and as the captives grapple with their own inner demons, the line between right and wrong starts to blur. Will the secrets they keep stop them from escaping with their lives?

Additional information

ISBN

9781911630418

Author

Norman, Charity

Publisher

Allen & Unwin

Binding

Paperback

2 reviews for The Secrets of Strangers

  1. Tracey Harriman (verified owner)

    The day has barely started when a seemingly crazed gunman steams into a cafe and shoots the owner. Some customers manage to flee, others are trapped inside at the mercy of a madman. This is the story of a gunman, his hostages and the cafe owner. The day they share together, their histories and their secrets.

    When a defenceless, unarmed man is shot, there can’t be any justification for it…can there? Robert, the friendly, popular coffee shop proprietor was just doing his job, looking after his loyal customers…wasn’t he? Sam, the gunman, was a crazed man who discharged his firearm without provocation…didn’t he?

    The three hostages, Mutesi, Abi and Neil are afraid. There is no means of escape and they do not know what Sam will do next. But there is help. Eliza is a police negotiator, and in the hours that follow, both she and the hostages try to find a way to a peaceful end to the situation.

    I like how Norman introduces us to the hostages. Our first impressions are as they are beginning their days, the mundane rituals and interactions that give no inkling of how their day will unfold. Sam’s introduction is a tad more dramatic. Our initial impression of him is as a crazed gunman. A bad guy. A whack-a-doodle.

    There is no denying that what Sam has done is a very bad thing. But as the story unfolds and more is learned of his and Robert’s history, it’s possible that Sam deserves not just condemnation, but also compassion.

    The characters in this story are beautifully written, and I like that this story isn’t just told via a single narrative. We hear the voices of Sam, the hostages and the Police negotiator. We hear their thoughts about what is happening, and gain insights into their own lives both past and present.

    I have no idea how easy this was for Norman to write, but I found it to be a beautifully easy read. Compelling from start to finish, I almost wished for a different ending. This is my first foray into the works of Charity Norman but it won’t be my last.

  2. Sarah Turner

    I’d not read any previous books by this author but will definitely now revisit her back catalogue. A really well told story, great characters and a really commercial read.
    A gunman goes into a small south London cafe early one morning, killing the owner and raking the rest of the people in the cafe hostage. In turn we learn more of the backstory to all of them, including the police negotiator and the gunman himself. And we uncover the shocking reasons why he did what he did. Well constructed and well written. This does way more than the title had suggested to me it might. Definitely breaks out of any perceptions of “women’s fiction” where this might find itself categorised.

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