Waking up beside the dead girl, she couldn’t remember anything.
Who she was. Who had taken her. How to escape.
Detective Abigail Boone has been missing for four days when she is finally found, confused and broken. Suffering retrograde amnesia, she is a stranger to her despairing husband and bewildered son.
Hopelessly lost in her own life, with no leads on her abduction, Boone’s only instinct is to revisit the case she was investigating when she vanished: the baffling disappearance of a young woman, Sarah Still.
Defying her family and the police, Boone obsessively follows a deadly trail to the darkest edges of human cruelty. But even if she finds Sarah, will Boone ever be the same again?
This was the first book I read on my birthday half-term trip to beautiful Budapest, where I used the hashtag #BooksInBudapest to highlight all of the amazing books that I read there. Past Life was definitely a stand-out read for me and I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on the blog tour today. Thanks so much to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the Blog tour and introducing me to another fabulous new voice.
Past Life definitely was a fantastic read. A stand-out in an increasingly competitive field – Dominic Nolan has crafted a book that you’ll take a long time to forget once you’ve finished it. It certainly had me well and truly hooked and I’ve thought about it a lot since I finished it as it had a really fantastic cast of characters that you won’t forget in a hurry.
One of the most striking things I’ll remember about Past Life – and there are many – is that although I was reading it in gorgeous Budapest – in my head, I was very firmly transported into the world of this book, experiencing all of the twists and turns alongside Abigail Boone in the midst of the trauma and degradation she was exposed to. The beauty of the place I was in served to emphasise the darkness that I was reading about and made the characters even more realistic as I got lost in its pages
Abigail’s determined nature really spoke to me and she definitely stepped off the page for me in her determination to get to the truth. Dominic Nolan definitely makes us ask ourselves exactly how far we ourselves would be prepared to get to the truth, despite the cost to ourselves and our family life.
The danger that Abigail finds herself caught in becomes increasingly terrifying – dealing with kidnapping and human trafficking is certainly a predicament that few people even dream of, never mind have to cope with. This was brought to life very vividly, without ever feeling sensationalist or insensitive and I think was one of the things that really made this book stand out for me. I often find that the darker the material, the more unrealistic it can feel – but in Past Life that was thankfully not the case.
I also thought that Roo’s character was incredibly deftly drawn and felt so real to me. Her sense of humour and survivor’s instinct shines through. Dominic Nolan is careful that we do not just see her as a one-dimensional character: as well as her humour, she also sees things more clearly than many of the professionals involved and I have thought about her often since finishing the book. This book is beautifully balanced and does not just cast stereotypical or one-sided characters that can so often appear in thrillers, but has a cast of nuanced and credible characters that definitely drew me in and held me tight.
I was so drawn into this novel that I was delighted to find my husband picking it up and reading it right after me so that we could talk about it together – Past Life is such an evocative read that it was fascinating to see if the visions that I’d been conjuring up in my head were similar to his and we certainly had a fair few heated conversations about it. If this sparks your curiosity, you should definitely order yourself a copy so that you can see for yourself
This will definitely appeal to fans of a dark and compelling crime novel and is another fantastic new voice from Headline that will hopefully encourage more people to choose books by debut writers and not just famous voices. It really is well worth your while to cast your net more widely in terms of crime and thrillers right now – there are some absolute crackers about!
I’d like to pass on my thanks to the ever-lovely Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in the Blog Tour and sending me a copy of the book. It’s such a gorgeous cover that at least three people asked me what I was reading on the plane and in the hotel and the inside is definitely just as striking. Get your hands on your own copy here
Writer On The Shelf
Dominic grew up and still lives in North London. He worked various day jobs, ranging from call centre operator to fraud investigator, before selling his first novel, Past Life – the story of Boone, a detective who suffers a catastrophic loss of her memory and, struggling to reintegrate herself back into her past life with her husband and teenage son, decides to reinvestigate the missing person case that led to her getting hurt in the first place.
Boone will return in a follow-up to Past Life in 2020.
Find Dominic Nolan on Twitter – @NolanDom