All the hidden truths book review

All The Hidden Truths by Claire Askew

This is a fact: Ryan Summers walked into Three Rivers College and killed thirteen women, then himself.

All the Hidden Truths is the story of a tragic shooting at an Edinburgh college and its aftermath. It is narrated by three women at the heart of the story – the mother of a victim and the mother of the shooter, and DI Helen Birch who is tasked in solving the case. The book is both a “knotty crime novel” and a story of grief “trying to make sense of something that defies reason”.

Duffy’s Thoughts On All The Hidden Truths

Wow, this book will take it out of you. It’s intense from the very first page and you don’t get any respite until the last chapter. It probably didn’t help that I read this book in tandem with the terrible tragedy in Crimea, where a lone gunman carried out a mass shooting at a college. A rather tragic coincidence.

Although there are many victims, All The Hidden Truths focuses mainly on the lives of three women. Moira Summers, the mother of Ryan Summers, who killed so many. Ishbel, who is the mother of Abigail, one of the young victims and DI Helen Birch who has this terrible tragedy as her first case since promotion.

I was gripped by this book and intrigued by the many different facets of the story, and there are MANY. It’s an interesting look on what can trigger these lone shootings, how social media plays a part and how the tabloids and the wider public judge from the outside. I found the story of Moira Summers the most interesting and it did make me think about We Need To Talk About Kevin. The sheer horror situation of knowing your child committed such an atrocity and the judgement and guilt, mixed up with love for a child you raised is a very complicated one and Askew treads carefully and respectfully here.

What Kind Of Person Becomes A Tabloid Journo?

There is, as always a tabloid hack who is greasy, seedy and oversteps the line with no morals and the character of Grant Lockley hit all those low notes, but maybe a little too much. He was the character that let me down the most as his seedy mack hack persona stood out as very cliched amongst a cast of original female characters.

All The Hidden Truths hits on topics which are in the news today and have been big in the past. Journalism ethics, gun control, mental health issues, the rise of feminism and social media. It also dissects how grief can tear families apart when they should be closer together and how we all keep secrets from each other.

A solid crime fiction and a great debut from Claire Askew.

Published in August by Hachette and available in all good bookstores

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All The Hidden Truths Claire Askew