Pressure by Betsy Reavley

Pressure bookThe new novel Pressure by Betsy Reavley was recommended to me recently, so I was pleased to make time to read this novel. The title is used to great advantage and the different meanings of the word pressure are itemised at the beginning of the book. This is a useful beginning.

Pressure takes place on a submarine where movie mogul Frank Holden is making a film. However, the vessel developes a fault and sinks to the bottom of the sea. The ten member cast and crew have no contact with the outside world. They are unable to escape and then one of them is found dead.

Tension mounts as the group realises that one of them is a murderer.

The story of their predicament is interwoven with brief backgrounds of each of the occupants of the submarine and the difficult life of one of them. It becomes clear that due to the pressures ‘Child’ has faced growing up, they must be the murderer but never does the author let it slip as to whether ‘Child’ is male or female.

The increase in tension and desperation results in the characters turning on each other as they try to identify the murderer amonst them. Each death reduces the number of suspects. Each of the characters has had pressure to deal with in their past and must face this and their secrets.

Pressure, with the flashbacks to ‘Child’ reminded me a it of Mark Billingham’s first Tom Thorne novel, Sleepyhead, 9one of my all time favourite books) reviewed here Not because of the subject matter but because of the clever use of this literary device. I enjoyed Pressure. It is exciting and is a clever novel with a most interesting setting. I think it would work well for book groups and if you enjoy crime thrillers as much as I do, Pressure is well worth reading.

The Author

Author of  The Quiet OnesThe Optician’s WifeCarrionBeneath the Watery Moon and the poetry collection The Worm in the Bottle. Betsy was born in Hammersmith, London. Betsy Reavley

As a child she moved around frequently with her family, spending time in London, Provence, Tuscany, Gloucestershire and Cambridgeshire.

She showed a flair for literature and writing from a young age and had a particular interest in poetry, of which she was a prolific consumer and producer.

In her early twenties she moved to Oxford, where she would eventually meet her husband. During her time in Oxford her interests turned from poetry to novels and she began to develop her own unique style of psychological thriller. Betsy says “I believe people are at their most fascinating when they are faced by the dark side of life. This is what I like to write about.”

Betsy Reavley currently lives in London, with her husband, 2 children, dog, cat and chickens. You can follow her on Twitter @BetsyReavley


Val Penny


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