I would like to thank @MyriadEditions for giving me a spot on this blogtour. As well as an ARC of the book, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
All it takes to change a life is a single moment. A random stabbing on a London bus leaves Eira stripped of a future that should have been hers and propels her into a life skewed out of all recognition. In Prague the city where she and her husband got engaged, the city where now she flees to in her grief, a chance meeting leads to an intriguing proposition. There’s a small job for someone like her someone without a criminal record or personal connections: someone willing to take a minor risk. All she needs to do is pick something up, and drive back. Just once. Only ever once.
Her mission takes her to a place where life is cheap and sordid deals are done. Risking her own life to save another, she must confront unspeakable evil and outrun those who would betray her.
This is a beautifully written story, with short, sharp, observant chapters, each having a heading, the opening chapter is titled, an ending, as Eira and husband Tod have been to the cinema in London, on the way home on the bus Tod is stabbed and dies. Leaving Eira numb, she tries to carry on, but she is making mistakes at work and although her boss is sympathetic she quits. Deciding to go to Prague where Tod had proposed to her. As she tries to work through the pain and grief. She enrols in a Czech language class, but doesn’t stick at it for long, she meets a Canadian student there who aspires to become a writer, which is why he is in Prague. Despite him only being a minor character in the story, he also plays an important part as the reader learns later.
Who is the narrator? It’s clearly not being told by Eira, the main protagonist, when it says ‘you did this’ or ‘you did that’ It comes across as if we are the character, we are the story. It only became clear later who it was telling Eira’s story as if it was being read to her. It’s our beating heart.
Eira seems to have no fear, she is numb. She has a chance meeting with a man called Mario on her first evening in Prague, who says for someone like her he could find her a one off job that pays well. When her money is getting low Eira seeks him out saying she will do the job. He makes it clear the job is not legal, and it’s a one time job only, to take a package over the border and bring another package back. She agrees to do it. He arranges a meet with a woman called Valerie, who says the job is just a simple favour nothing more, but if she doesn’t complete the job there will be consequences, a meeting with Pavel and his scalpel. Eira is adamant she will do the job. She is given strict rules, but Eira doesn’t like sticking to rules and changes a few things along the way. The package she takes with her is fine, although she is inquisitive as to what it is, but the package she brings back changes the game completely, especially when she realises what they plan to do with the package.
The stakes are high, and the chase is on, you are rooting for Eira to make it, but can she?
I have to say as I was nearing the end of the story, the tension was building, I could hear and feel my heart pounding in my chest. I had no idea how this was going to go. The story truly took you on an emotional journey, with beautiful prose. As Eira deals with her grief pushing herself to the extreme, physically and mentally. Eira’s main focus is to escape and survive with the package intact.
The title becomes significant in many ways, as you learn when reading the story. This is a tightly plotted fast paced read, keeping you entirely gripped, emotions going up and down like a rollercoaster ride. With some truly believable characters. A story of grief and the impact it can have in decision making.
This is an outstanding ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ read. I look forward to see what the author writes next.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
TYLER KEEVIL is the author of three novels, including The Drive (also published by Myriad) and No Good Brother (Borough Press) he has received numerous awards, most notably the Wales Book of the Year People’s Prize and the Writer’s Trust of Canada/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize. He is Director of the MA in Creative Writing at Cardiff University. He grew up in Vancouver and moved to Wales in his twenties, and now lives in Abergavenny.