I’ve now read quite a few of Caroline Overington’s novels (such as The One Who Got Away ) and almost every time I review them I comment on the fact that they reflect current and very contemporary issues.
Her latest, The Ones You Trust, is no different.
The Ones You Trust
by Caroline Overington
Published by HarperCollins - AU
on August 20th 2018
Source: Harper Collins, NetGalley
Genres: Psychological Thriller
ISBN: 1460755820, 9781460755822
Emma Cardwell, host of top-rating morning TV show Cuppa, is beloved by audiences and only occasionally stalked by crazy fans. She seems to have it all - fame, money, a gorgeous family - when her tiny daughter disappears from daycare, Emma is faced with every mother's worst nightmare.
Is this a kidnapping, a product of her high profile, or is somebody out for revenge?
As the hours tick by and the pressure mounts, everything comes under scrutiny, including her own marriage, and Emma is forced to confront a terrifying question: can we trust the ones we love?
I made a note while I was reading this that Overington seems to use some examples of recent happenings involving public figures here in Australia. And she doesn’t pull any punches. Male co-hosts that rock up for the morning show still drunk from the night before. The pressure of female hosts to be young and peppy. And definitely not fat, amidst headlines spotlighting their cellulite.
And then there’s the cut-throat PR machines driving these TV shows and the networks. It’d be laughable if it wasn’t also (most likely) very very real.
And then there’s the changing face of the paparazzi, one of whom we meet is bemoaning the advent of the smart phone and the public’s ability to snap pics once only accessible to those with cameras and zoom lenses at the ready, They also grumble about celebs ‘papping’ themselves and sharing bathroom / gym / just-awake pics – once the bread-and-butter of the tabloid press.
Emma’s no dummy and she knows (after over a decade) her days on morning TV are numbered, but she’s trying to do everything right. Despite their differences she kinda gets on with her co-host though seems to have a bit of a love/hate relationship with the studio’s 2IC or ‘fixer’ Maven.
Overington takes readers behind the glamorous scenes and we see the flipside of fame and almost-fortune…. namely the lack of privacy and dealing with the usual day to day family, relationship and personal crap while in the eye of the public. There’s mention, for example, of the fact that Emma realises almost everyone she meets knows far more about her and her family than she could know about them. (Of course, having said that, our players have chosen to be in that world.)
The entertaining, authentic and complex backdrop of this story, along with a likeable lead in Emma, were certainly the strengths of this book.
Despite the reactions of Emma and her husband, I realised I wasn’t overly concerned about the disappearance of the annoyingly named Fox-Piper because there’s no sense of maliciousness, which was probably the only weakness in the plot itself.
I think I would have preferred that we not have the first chapter – in which Fox-Piper is ‘taken’ – which would have allowed us to remain in the dark for longer. It felt a bit too obvious that this was either a publicity stunt of some kind or a grab for attention rather than something more malevolent… although of course, I’ve seen enough episodes of Law & Order SVU to know that even ‘friendly’ kidnappings can go wrong.
I was a tad surprised at part of the way this unfolded – and I guess that goes back to the aforementioned ‘things going wrong’ problem. (Best laid plans and all that!)
This is an enjoyable read. I know a lot of people who are looking forward to this and Australian readers in particular will relate to some of the characters and references, including reality TV stars dropping their pants, the vegetable spiralizer demonstrator and the cash cow prizes (‘paying people to watch us’)!
The Ones You Trust by Caroline Overington is now available in Australia via Harper Collins.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.