Trapeze/Orion Publishing, May 2021
Sharon Bolton’s latest is a terrific read.
Six friends are celebrating the end of term exams; exams, the results of which, will set them on their individual paths to careers and futures. Bored and a little inebriated they attempt the daredevil pursuit they’ve managed to pull off successfully a number of times throughout the year – driving the wrong way down a busy Motorway. The dare this time ends in a horrific accident.
Not aware of the full extent of the accident, Megan offers to take the blame, accepting the fact that it might well result in jail time. The others are quick to accept her offer and when Megan suggests they all sign a Pact stating they will grant a favour once she is released from prison, they readily agree. But none of them, least of all Megan, anticipates the length of the sentence brought down by the judge.
The lives of the five friends proceed in expected ways, although none of them have either the courage or the decency to call or visit Megan in prison. When the time comes for her release, each of them grows anxious fearful of the price they will be asked to pay. They meet to discuss what they might expect, wondering if they should have tried harder to find the Pact they signed with the object of destroying it.
When Megan makes contact with them one by one, wanting to renew the friendships, she is hurt and angry at the reception she receives. It’s payback time, she tells them, but senses that her old friends are unwilling to fulfill the Pact they all signed.
It is interesting to watch the reactions of the friends as Megan deftly invites herself into their lives. None of them are willing to welcome her back into the fold. She is an ex-con now and definitely not the kind of friend they would normally cultivate. Tension mounts as she pushes harder to get what she feels is owed to her.
When one of the five is murdered it appears obvious to the other four Megan has crossed the line and is out for revenge.
The author raises the stakes as the remaining four fear for their lives. As a result I found it difficult to put the book down until I reached the unexpected but thrilling conclusion.
The Pact is a must read….
Check it out. You won’t be disappointed.
Reviewed by guest reviewer Moyra Tarling, September 2021.