This review is written with thanks to Bookouture and Netgalley for my copy of All Fall Down.
Rob and Wendy Turner are enjoying a barbecue with their family when they discover a dying man in their garden pleading for help. Although they are unnerved, both they and the police believe that the man who asked for help came across their garden at random. However,in the days that follow, it becomes clear that the Turner family are a family with lots of secrets. Is it possible that they are more involved in what happened to the man than they realise?
On the surface, Rob and Wendy Turner, and their children, Evan, Josh and Georgia appear to be an average British family, and Bale writes about them with such confidence that it is easy for the reader to feel as if they know them well, and could perhaps recognise aspects of their own lives in those of the characters. Immediately, this helps the reader to relate to the family and consider how they would feel and react in a similar situation. As All Fall Down progresses and the secrets of the family emerge, Bale has the opportunity to explore a range of issues, including illegal smuggling, domestic violence and adoption. This paves the way for a fast paced novel which is full of tension and keeps the reader engaged. However, at times, I felt that Bale tried to address too many issues, and this made parts of the novel feel "messy", with too many strands with which to keep up.
Earlier this year, I read and reviewed another novel by Bale - See How They Run - and the appeal of the earlier novel lay in the way that Bale placed seemingly ordinary characters in an extraordinary situation. It eventually becomes clear that this is not the case with All Fall Down, and as the different strands of the plot come together towards the end, the story felt a little contrived. As a result, I found the ending of the book slightly predictable.
Having read See How They Run, I was excited to read All Fall Down. It feels slightly unfair to make a comparison between the two, as in itself, All Fall Down is, to all intents and purposes, a well written and gripping novel. However, I finish this novel feeling slightly underwhelmed in light of its predecessor.
All Fall Down is released on 1st September and is available from Amazon.