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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Hodgson

The Pact by Sharon Bolton

I have a question for you: if someone agreed to take the fall for you in a crime but asked for one favour in return, would you agree to it? That favour could be ANYTHING and you wouldn’t know what it was until they asked it of you. It’s a tricky question and is the premise of Sharon Bolton’s tense new thriller The Pact.

6 privileged sixth form friends at a fancy private school in Oxford, anxiously awaiting their exam results, spend their summer taking turns at a dangerous driving stunt. On the sixth and final time, a fatal accident occurs which will change all of their lives forever. One of the group, scholarship student Megan, agrees to confess to the crime as long as the others sign a pact that they will grant her a favour each when the time comes. After an unexpectedly long sentence sees Megan spending the next 20 years in prison, she is now out and looking to cash in on those favours…

The pacing of this book is fantastic and I felt tense for pretty much the entire read; it is certainly a page turner in that respect. I don’t think all of the characters are equally likeable, but that isn’t surprising in an ensemble cast such as this one. We do move from one perspective to another throughout the book and I think that certainly helps keep the tension going; the characters all have their own secrets from each other and Bolton’s way of drip-feeding us information as we flit between perspectives is expertly done.

As we enter the final stages of the novel, things really kick up a gear and I was kept constantly guessing; I definitely did not see that ending coming! It did feel like the book ended quite abruptly in some respects, but that may be because this novel superbly built tension all the way through and so when it ended I felt like I was all revved up with no more book to read!

This was a really enjoyable read and I think it will please seasoned thriller readers and those new to the genre alike. The Pact is out on 27th May 2021 and I’d like to thank Trapeze Books and Orion Books for sending me this proof copy to read and review.


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