I love reading a good psychological thriller, one where the story takes you on a journey where you just don’t feel safe – from the safety of your own home of course! Sharon Bolton’s The Pact does a great job of this. Sharon Bolton is an expert crime and thriller author, and The Pact is a dark, tightly woven tale that will grab hold and keep you gripped right from the start.
The Pact is a psychological thriller that sees a group of six very privileged, high-achieving teenage friends about change their lives forever – and in more than one way!
A golden summer, the most prestigious school in the country and a group of six teenage friends waiting for their exam results. Sounds idyllic, doesn’t it? Possibly the start of a teenage romantic comedy? Not really, it is something else that is much more enjoyable. The six friends have gathered together the night before final exam results, doing what a lot of 18 year olds will do: drinking and having fun. That is until the fun takes a much more sinister turn and an ill-conceived game of dare and a driving accident leaves a family dead and six teenagers who face their lives being ruined forever.
Why should all six lives be ruined? The teenagers certainly don’t think they should be. Together they hatch a plan where one person takes the blame, except that comes with a price. A pact is made and signed, detailing all their involvement and guilt. Their pact is that eighteen year Megan will go to the police and take sole responsibility for the accident, even though she is not entirely at fault, but each of the other five will owe her a “favour” at a later date. After all, as an eighteen year old that has never been in trouble before shouldn’t spend too long in prison. Except that doesn’t go to plan and Megan is sentenced to a very lengthy prison sentence.
Fast forward twenty years. The group of five friends have all made something of themselves and have been living a good life, that is until Megan is released from prison and favours are now due and their good lives are starting to show the strain. The fun and games are just about to begin.
Overall, I really enjoyed The Pact. I have had this book for a while and to be honest wasn’t that interested in reading it (I don’t know why as I love Sharon Bolton’s books), but once I picked it up and started reading it really was a struggle to put it down at times. It is a fantastic well-written story that starts fairly slowly but soon builds into a fantastic tale of psychological torture for its cast of characters.
It is a story told over two time periods – now and 20 years in the past, told by telling you firstly what happened in the past and then continuing 20 years later without jumping backwards and forwards between the two. A story of six very talented and intelligent, spoilt, over-privileged teenagers that have everything going for them until some very bad decisions leave them with a lifetime of buried stress, guilt and regret that comes to the surface in various different ways –including alcoholism and mental illness.
The characters are all very different from each other, although all are very much very self-absorbed and selfish – likeable and at the same time dislikeable. No one character particularly stood out more than another, they all had their own uniqueness that made them just as good and bad as the others. But they have been put together extremely well, are believable and do a good job of immersing the reader in the story.
The Pact has a pacy and very intriguing storyline, one that could be all too real. It has plenty of twists and turns along the way– some predictable and some not, but then some have to be for the story to work and it does. Whilst I did guess the outcome long before it was revealed, there were enough twists and turn to just keep me never being quite 100% sure and second guessing.
I love Sharon Bolton’s writing and books, especially the Lacey Flint series, but The Pact has to my favourite of hers to date. A thriller that keeps a very good pace, with some nice twists and turns along the way, a cast of interesting characters and an intriguing storyline of secrets and self-preservation.
An absorbing, gripping and highly exhilarating thriller.
RRP: £14.99 (Hardback) / £8.99 (Paperback) / £4.49 (Kindle)