A car breaks down on the side of the road with a mother and three young children. Leaving Jack, her eldest son, in charge of his siblings, the mother leaves to get help. The minutes pass by very slowly, waiting for their mother, who never returns. Her body is soon discovered, and it is revealed that she was murdered. This incident impacts Jack and his family so that they are unable to recover for a very long time.
The Bigger Picture
Snap ticks all the right boxes for a thriller. It also boasts a complex mix of backstories and clues with much more than a slow burner. The author focuses on spectacularly done characters, making you root for almost every character, particularly for Jack. He wants to keep his family together after the death of his mother, and it is difficult not to admire his grit and courage.
Although the book’s prime focus is the murder of a woman, Snap also reveals the unravelling of a family after this horrific incident. And dealing with murder will come in all shapes and sizes. The book lingers on the impact of murder on very young children and the weight of the claustrophobic nature of life-changing events in its aftermath. In short, life is changed forever in one giant snap.
Fast forward three years. Jack is now fourteen years old and in charge of taking care of his siblings as well. His father, unable to cope with everything that has happened in his life, abandons his children and disappears. In fear of being picked up by social services, Jack keeps the lawns of his home well-manicured and windows clean, creating the impression that his father is still home. Jack also befriends Louis Bridge, who teaches him to be a burglar. However, one burglary changes the entire picture.
There is another parallel storyline of Catharine, a young pregnant woman. She awakes to find a note with a knife stating, “I could have killed you”. Although she has no idea about where it came from, she makes a snap decision to not tell her husband about the same, which almost costs her everything!
I do not want to give away much of the story. It is best to let the book unravel the way Bauer intended. Deliberate, addictive and unputdownable, this is one book that every mystery/thriller fan must pick. Also, if you enjoy a masterfully told story with empathic characters, this book is a great choice. Another strong point of the book is that it has very realistic characters. This makes it easy for us to understand and empathise with them. And although Jack’s loss was difficult to witness, there was lots of light relief in the form of Reynolds and Marvel. Wonderful, just wonderful!
Although the crime committed in the book is brutal, there are very few violent descriptions or scenes. In fact, the worst occurred in the opening chapter when the children stumble across a dead fox. Instead, the story focused on the devastating effects of such a crime and how much it impacted one family’s life. Go ahead and snap this one for your next read! You won’t be sorry.
Snap was on the Man Booker Prize Longlist, 2018. If that is not reason enough, this book has won rave reviews from critics and readers alike. Although mystery lovers will love this book, it can be picked up by anyone who wants to read a good novel. The story is more than just a crime novel. It is a story of three children who had to grow up in an instant to survive and face the world alone.
It is a story of a husband who cannot cope with the death of his wife and refuses to accept reality. Snap is also a story of a broken house full of newspapers containing news of the murder. There are no fancy frills or poetic moments here (except for poetic justice, if that counts). Yet my thoughts, feelings, and imagination were all held captive until I turned the last page.
Belinda Bauer does a beautiful job showing a broken family trying to pick up the pieces of their life. The characters’ humanity is one of the biggest reasons this novel might stay with the reader. In fact, even more than the actual murder mystery. Snap by Belinda Bauer is a well written, edge of your seat thriller that you should definitely read. Highly recommended.
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