Do you ever read a new book by your favorite author and feel automatically comforted by their words? That’s what it’s like reading C.J. Tudor novel for me. I first fell in love with her story telling abilities after The Chalkman. That novel is full of eerie, self-doubting suspense that the moment I finished it I knew I would read anything this author put out.
When I began reading The Hiding Place, I was thrown off yet excited at the subtle horror elements that lurked throughout the story. As a horror lover, that unexpected change her her genre type was everything I could have wanted.
The Other People is Tudor’s most recent release and it brought all the expected eerie atmosphere with it. It’s a little more comparable to The Chalkman in terms of genre but still has some subtle horror aspects that all blend together in an additictive page turner. As much as I wanted to drag this read out, to savor the story, I finished it in three days.
One night while driving home, Gabe sees his daughter in the back of a car in front of him. But it couldn’t be his daughter as she’s at home with his wife.
This is the night Gabe’s life changes forever. Following the disappearance of his daughter, Gabe spends his time driving up and down the highway hoping to find his daughter.
On the other side, Fran and her daughter are running away from something. They spend a lot of time on the road trying to distance themselves from the truth of that horrific night Gabe’s daughter went missing. Because Fran knows what really happpened and who did it.
This novel was like a perfectly baked cake, containing all the things I, as a reader, love in a novel. It was a slow burn but this allowed you to really get to know the characters and their flaws. You get to watch as they navigated an impossibly tricky situation that ended up being more than met the eye. Tudor’s books often expand in an unexpected way. This is the second time now where I’ve opened one of her books with one idea of where it will go based off the synopsis and end up getting more than I bargained for. And I mean that in the best way. It’s refreshing to read a book take an already unusual idea and make that even more intense with twists you didn’t see coming.
One aspect I’ve always loved about Tudor’s stories are the characters she crafts. They’re never perfect, living luxury lives that are unattainable. They’re normal people like you and me, going through life the best they can.
What I loved most about Gabe’s character was his stubbornness. He had this unwavering belief in what he saw that night. Many characters try to tell him to move on, imply he’s crazy for still believing that his daughter is missing when her body was found at the scene. He’s what I imagine any parent to be when dealing with a missing child.
Even characters you’re unsure about have strong, somewhat redeeming qualities to them. I don’t want to spoil the plot but let’s just say, as in real life, we all have our own moral compasses we follow. This is what guides us through our day to day and influences our choices. We all try to make the best decisions which may come at the expense of others. Tudor captured this beautifully within multiple characters we meet along our reading journey. It added yet another element of realness to the entire novel.
I’ve seen some people coming away from this book unsatisfied and I think that’s because this is being billed as a traditional thriller. That is not what The Other People is. It’s a burning novel about real people, how they handle grief, and what we would do to right a wrong if we felt as if justice had not been served.
While I wouldn’t consider this a thriller, that doesn’t mean that it’s lacking in twists or turns. This story is full of them, written in a way that mimics real life. Real life isn’t always explosive, with surprises lurking in every corner.
It’s subtle, unpredictable, and raw.
Little by little, page by page, Tudor gives us a taste of what is going on without fully revealing all the answers until the last page; and until you hit that last page, the story can and will completely change. You’ll soon find out that there is more than meets the eye. She’s a true master of suspense.
You need to go into The Other People knowing this is a slow-burn novel that requires you get close and cozy with each key player to appreciate the full magnitude of the story. Even the set up of this novel is highly entertaining.
Since this book deals with more everyday people, I thought The Other People would pair well with a Pinot Noir. It’s subtle yet deep, just like the twists and turns this story takes. I found this Naked Grape Pinot Noir on sale, but any brand of Pinot Noir will pair well with the unsettling undertones you’ll encounter while reading for the perfect experience.
If you were a fan of Tudor’s two previous novels, or enjoy a story who’s eeriness will creep into your bones slowly overtime, then you need to read this one! I’d love to hear your thoughts on this novel in the comments below!