” I’m sitting on my couch, watching the local news. There’s Chloe’s parents, the mayor, the hangers on, all grouped round the pond for the ceremony. It’s ten years since Chloe and Carl drowned. You can tell from their faces that something has gone wrong. But I’m the one who knows straightaway that the mayor has found a body. And I know who it is.”
There’s nothing cheerful about the psychologically charged mystery that is Cold Light. In fact there is actually an undeniable coldness to the narrative, a detached almost nonchalant air to the unfolding of events that is at the heart of this novel. The way memory becomes present, past becomes in the moment and it all comes together in pieces to reveal the secrets of one series of events witnessed by many in varying ways. Young teen girls, an older man, an innocent…all pulled into a chain of events that are both chilling and dark.
At the heart of the story is Lola or Laura depending upon the time in which she speaks. An young girl from a dysfunctional family, at a young age she yearns for attention, acceptance and ultimately approval. More the anything she yearns for these things from her best friend Chloe. A kind of Queen Bee who attracts girls like Lola and Emma into her web of confidence and control then makes them compete for her attention and favor. However in this case Chloe also has a controller of her very own in the form of an older man, a man using a young girl for sexual favors while filling her head with ideas of boyfriends and girlfriends and something similar to what a young girl might think love would be like but at the same time horribly wrong and far from it. Disaster is the ending…chilling in its truth but the reader knows that from the very beginning….the only question is how the mystery will unfold and what truth will ultimately be revealed.
A skilled writer who excels at the dissection of relationships and their complex internal struggles and attached obligations, Ashworth has a knack for writing within her character’s minds. She fits easily into the mindset of her teen characters making them real and easily understood in their young mindset, needs, wants and reasoning. Lovers of British fiction will find the novel ultimately that in it’s tone and somewhat detached introspection. It is not uplifting, not happy in any way, shape or form but it is addictive. Making readers keep turning pages to fill the need to know what really happened….to know the truth that is so often just in front of them and then teasingly again and again pages away.
You can check out the book trailer for Cold Light here which is a perfectly chilling depiction of what the novel truly is about. You can also connect with author Jenn Ashworth on Twitter and Facebook. Make sure to also check out all the other great blogs participating in this great tour.