Now You See Me by Chris McGeorge #BookReview #BlogTour


My name is Matthew McConnell. You’ve probably heard my story.
I took five of my friends on a boat through the longest canal tunnel in England. 


It takes two hours and twenty-six minutes to travel through that tunnel.
Six of us entered that tunnel but I was the only one to come out.


It was pitch black in there – I don’t know what happened to them. But I’m the only suspect. 
And if I don’t find out how they disappeared, I’ll be sentenced to murder.

I'm delighted to be hosting the blog tour for Now You See Me by Chris McGeorge today, along with the lovely Karen over at My Reading Corner. Huge thanks to Chris, Orion Books and Tracy Fenton from Compulsive Books for inviting me and for the advance digital copy of the novel.

Despite suffering from claustrophobia - particularly when tunnels and water are involved - I was intrigued by the description of  Now You See Me. I love a locked room mystery, especially if there's a race against time element to the reveal too. Matthew is days away from being refused bail, the sole suspect in a perplexing case in which there are no bodies and the only evidence is that of the six people to enter Standedge canal tunnel, he was the only one to come out. However, he was unconscious when he emerged and claims he can't remember what happened. Things don't look good for Matthew but he might just have an unlikely chance at avoiding prison.
That chance is in the form of Robin Ferringham and in a masterstroke which immediately sets Now You See Me apart from other murder mysteries, the plot actually revolves around a character who has no direct involvement with the case and a unique reason for wanting to help Matthew. Robin is an author and his latest book, Without Her is a painfully personal account about his missing wife, Sam. When he receives a phone call from Matthew in prison claiming to have a message from her, he naturally dismisses it as a hoax at first. However, Matthew then tells him something that only Sam could have known and from that moment he is hooked. As he looks into the case, he is stunned to discover that the disappearance of the five young people has barely been reported on. He decides he has no choice but to visit the village of Marsden but his primary incentive remains his desperate hope for news regarding his wife. This raises a moral conundrum where he realises he may have to decide whether he is prepared to try and secure the release of a potentially guilty man if it means he learns something about Sam's disappearance.
If a long, dark tunnel in which five people disappeared isn't creepy enough, the small community of Marsden is also concealing plenty of secrets and it's clear that Robin isn't welcome. Most of the villagers, including the parents of the Standedge Five are convinced of Matthew's guilt and resent an outsider's interference. As the novel progresses, it becomes increasingly harder for Robin to know who he can trust and there are plenty of gratifying twists and turns to trip him and the reader up as it gradually transpires that nothing is quite as it seems. To complicate matters still further, locals talk of the Standedge Monster and with no other rational explanation for their disappearance, could there really be an even more sinister being behind the disappearance?
Robin joins forces with a young local woman, Sally who runs an investigative website which, with the apparent news blackout of the case is in a unique position to flush out new evidence, no matter how unlikely it may seem. There are a couple of scenes where Robin interacts with some of the fathers of the missing youngsters and these are particularly poignant moments in the book. How they attempt to cope with their losses varies but with his own tragedy never far from his mind, readers will empathise with Robin as much as they do with the parents. For all that Now You See Me is about a fiendish mystery, it's also about people trying to come to terms with sudden, unexpected loss and how they are supposed to move on with their own lives when so many questions remain unanswered. The latter part of the novel eventually reveals exactly what happened and why and although I had developed some theories during the course of the story, I didn't come close to guessing the full truth. I loved discovering not just the fate of the Standedge Five but also the disturbing reason behind the extraordinary crime.
Now You See Me has engaging and well-rounded, interesting protagonists - Robin is the standout, of course, but I also really liked Sally and was fascinated by the motivations behind the actions of some of the less sympathetic characters. With its complex, well-paced plot which effortlessly switches between the different timelines, a strong sense of place and plenty of genuine surprises, Chris McGeorge's novel is a compelling, tense mystery with an affecting emotional honesty which makes it a fresh, exciting and memorable read. Highly recommended.

Now You See Me is published by Orion Books and can be purchased from Hive, from the handy links on the publisher's website or if possible, try to support your local bookshop!

Don't miss the rest of the blog tour, details are below.

About the Author

Chris lives in Durham and is a recent graduate of the Creative Writing (Crime/Thriller) MA at City University. He loves film and acting in an amateur theatre group.