Rebound, by Aga Lesiewicz

Anna Wright is a thirty-something media executive who lives in the ultra-fashionable London district of Hampstead, drives a 4X4 BMW and owns a chocolate Labrador. She seems to have everything, but suddenly decides to dump her boyfriend of three years.

Rebound is all about what happens next. The proverbial rebound. Anna takes an uncharacteristic, and frankly unconvincing, step with a stranger on Hampstead Heath. From that moment, nothing will be the same and Anna’s life will go from bad to worse.

Described as a ‘stunning psychological thriller’, I thought that it was rather average. There are plenty of twists in the plot, but really it comes down to which of a small cast of suspects is a stalker, thief, dog poisoner and eventually a murderer.

Anna is a little bit too much of a mechanism and too little of a well-drawn and convincing character. She enjoys a host of well-known products and luxuries, from a Ted Baker leather jacket to certain bath oils, exclusive restaurant foods and fines wines. It begins to feel like a Bond movie with all of the product placement going on. For all Anna’s self-questioning she isn’t quite a credible three-dimensional character. Her choice one day while she is out running on the Heath, while not impossible, is highly unlikely and sounds more like some sort of adolescent male fantasy. Her continuation with the behaviour makes her completely one-dimensional.

The chocolate labby, Wispa, named after an English chocolate bar, is all about expressive looks, wagging tail and the joy of being taken for a walk, and this gets repeated so many times that it gets annoying.

The plot is peppered with little clues, brief appearances by mysterious men in hoodies, some of which Anna notices and thinks about and others of which merely flash past for the reader to pick up on and the heroine to miss.

The book is plotted around distractions, so as turmoil breaks out in Anna’s working life when consultants come in to restructure her employer, she is increasingly marginalized by her sickly-sweet boss, while at the same time her personal life heads off on its own roller coaster ride. These things do happen, and sometimes all at once, but here it all feels a bit too much like a plot device.

I hate to sound this negative about a book, something into which the writer has poured heart and soul for so long, laboured on the ideas and the sequence of events, then edited again and again. I was looking forward to that compelling psychological thriller, but I didn’t get it. What I got was a sort of half-baked chick-lit with a thin veneer of tension on the top.

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Marcus Hobson Marcus was until recently a businessman but has given all that up to follow his lifelong passion to be a writer. With a varied career behind him, including a degree in Ancient and Mediaeval History (and archaeology) he has wide ranging literary tastes from popular fiction to Viking sea burials. He is currently working on his second novel, a mix of fact and fiction set in the First World War (and crossing his fingers about getting his first book published). Marcus lives near Tauranga with his wife and their daughters.

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