Genre: Contemporary/ Mystery
Pub Date: April 2013
Publisher: Kirk Parolles
If you asked me what the theme of this book was, I would have no idea. All I could say is “drama”. And that is because One Step Too Far has every type of drama possible, with a whole array of different characters.
We begin our story with Emily, a woman who is running away from her life in Chester to London, not for fame or fortune, but as a means of escape, using her handy birth name Catherine. Why? Well we have no idea. Then we meet Emily’s parents, Francis and Andrew, and we hear their problems, and then Emily’s “evil twin”, Caroline (no seriously, they’re identical twins). On top of that we have Ben, Emily’s abandoned husband, and Angel, Cat’s (Catherine wasn’t snazzy enough for her), troubled new best friend. And I haven’t yet begun on the different problems: anorexia, depression, psychosis, and that’s just Caroline. You add in everyone else’s issues and you have enough problems to fill several episodes of Jerry Springer.
All in all, One Step Too Far reads like a soap opera. Jam packed with lots of different issues, addictive to read, but at the heart of it, completely hollow. There was so much down in this book that I started to resent nearly all the characters and their miserable lives. As much as I was interested in their lives, I lacked any sort of empathy or connection to any of them. In fact, the only emotion I felt towards most of them was pity. It seems that Seskis was so focused on getting shade and depth into her characters that she forgot about the light.
Emily was our first person viewpoint, and when it jumped to another time or character the novel was in third person. This made it fairly easy to tell apart the different time periods with her, but made it quite confusing with telling apart the different points in time with the other characters. I also disliked the ridiculously long paragraphs and endless detail that Emily often provided, it was verging on stream of consciousness, and went past “setting the scene” to “irrelevant”.
I found the writing of the third person characters to be the best parts. Seskis seamlessly made very detailed, interesting (despite depressing) characters, and you could quickly spot the differences in their thoughts and voices. I found Caroline to be the most interesting, if not unlikable, and I was impressed with how Seskis really went back with Caroline’s history and how all her problems started.
It was only near the end of the book that I started to really enjoy myself. That was the point when the plot really kicked in and all the reveal came out, including one amazing omg-I-did-not-see-that-coming twist. And it was that which made it all worth it.
Overall: If you like soap operas you’ll love this book. Packed to the brim with enough drama to give EastEnders a run for its money, One Step Too Far may be a step too far, but its clever characters and interesting reveals make up for it.
*I received this copy from Kirk Parolles via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*