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Publisher's Summary

Passengers boarding the 10.35 train from Manchester Piccadilly to London Euston have no idea that their journey is about to be brutally curtailed.

Holly has just landed her dream job, and Jeff is heading for an interview after months of unemployment. They end up sitting next to each other. Onboard customer service assistant Naz dreams of better things. And among the others travelling are Nick with his young family; pensioner Meg and her partner, setting off on a walking holiday; Caroline, run ragged by the competing demands of her stroppy teenage children and her demented mother; and Rhona, desperate to get home to her daughter.

And in the middle of the carriage sits Saheel, carrying a deadly rucksack....

©2016 Cath Staincliffe (P)2016 Isis Publishing Ltd

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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No Reviews are Available
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • karen 2000
  • 01-22-17

VERY emotional book

A very real story told with such human characters. It has made me cry.
David Thorpe brought everyone to life beautifully.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Ann D
  • 03-31-17

Disappointing!

Any additional comments?

I always enjoy the TV dramas 'Vera', which are based on many of this author's novels. This is my first book by her and I am sadly disappointed. It's not very well written. It has an interminable use of repeated strings of "he said, she said, he said". As to the story, we are given background on all of the characters involved. This is needed, but spends too much time on the small details of their lives. It must be acknowledged that issues of race and culture are handled extremely well, but this alone doesn't rescue the story for me. After developing all of the characters. The consequences of the 'deadly rucksack' mentioned in the publisher's note are just depressing. There are no surprises, as such situations are all too familiar. One hour from the end and I am returning it. Fictional accounts of this stuff seem pointless and just feel dispiriting. I'm not sure why I didn't anticipate this before purchasing it.

2 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Heidi
  • 04-21-18

Poignant modern day drama

Hmmmm ... I’m at a bit of a loss as to how to review this. For me, the book consisted of a few quite distinctive parts, of which I enjoyed some a lot more than others. I don’t want to give spoilers, so I cannot go into details, but will try to explain what I mean without touching too much on the plot:

For me, the book started off with a strong sense of intrigue as the author offers up multiple POVs of different passengers on a train bound from Manchester to Euston. I love glimpses into people’s lives, and thought that Staincliffe did a great job in giving the vital snapshots of the backgrounds of her characters that led to them all being in the same place, at the same time. Despite the short timeframe in which to establish her characters, Staincliffe managed to conjure them all up very vividly for me, and I felt invested in just about every one of them – not an easy task! The confined space of the train made for a brilliant claustrophobic setting, and anyone who has ever been on a train or a plane before will be able to imagine the entrapment experienced if a dangerous situation is added to this mix. At one point the tension mounted to such an extent that I literally held my breath, thinking how brilliant this books was, and how I admired this author’s writing style!

Just as the tension and suspense peaked, an event occurred that dispelled this build-up in an instant and totally changed the story. Without the suspense, the following chapters became more a study of human behaviour, at times brutal, graphic and quite disturbing. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t mind that, seeing how Staincliffe’s writing fully captured the stark emotional impact of events occurring, and she writes exceptionally well. Here we had tension of a different kind, the sort that leaves a bit of a bitter taste in your mouth as your emotional attachment to some characters is being tested – this is so hard to write without spoilers!!!!!

Now to the third part of the book, in which the tension is now gone completely, and the story focuses on characters’ emotions rather than events. I enjoyed it, but missed the hair-raising tension that had made the earlier part of the book great for me. After such a strong build-up, I felt somehow deflated, with the different POVs now serving more to fragment as earlier they had held the threads together. Perhaps that makes no sense, but picture a map of paths all intersecting in one huge roundabout, only to separate again into different meandering ways, some petering out into nothing and some not exiting at all. Get the picture?

Ok, I’ve given enough obscure hints now. I think that the author has written a great contemporary novel that is very poignant for our tumultuous times. There is an element of suspense, but most of the story focuses on people and their emotional responses to the events occurring. I thought Staincliffe delivered an excellent drama with true to life characters that made me wonder how I would react in their place. Warning – some scenes may be very graphic for some readers.


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  • Gemma
  • 01-18-17

Full Concentration needed to follow this story..

Would you try another book written by Cath Staincliffe or narrated by David Thorpe?

Probably not

Any additional comments?

You'd need a spreadsheet to keep up with who's who I gave up 2.5hours in