Fault Line

Robert Goddard

A search for missing documents in an international mining company becomes a voyage into dangerous waters. A dead friend, a lost lover and a clutch of mysteries from Jonathan Kellaway's youth in Cornwall and Italy in the late 1960s come back to haunt him when he is tasked with discovering why there is a gaping hole in his employer's records - and to tempt him with the hope that he may at last learn the truth about the tragedies of those years. It is a truth that has claimed several victims before. If he pursues it hard and long enough, he may only add himself to the list. But pursue it he will. Because the truth, he comes to realize, is the secret that has consumed his life. This time he will not stop ...until he has found it.

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Author interview with Richard and Judy

Preview of Robert Goddard’s new novel, The Ways Of The World, to be published in 2013

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RICHARD

This is a terrific thriller, full of astonishing twists and dramatic turns. The way Goddard spins his tale of a doomed family riven with faults, secrets and guilt as it switches from Cornwall to Italy is absolutely thrilling.

Jonathan Kelloway makes a great hero. Barely 18 when the story begins; 60 when he finally understands the mysterious past of the Wren family, his employers at the china clay works in St Austell, Cornwall.

In 1968 Jonathan is about to begin a degree course at the LSE in London. Brought up in St Austell - small, unexciting, and drably industrial – he cannot wait to arrive in the metropolis. Meanwhile he takes a summer job in the clay works. Bored to death, he soon meets Oliver, the 16-year-old grandson of the ancient Wren family, which has owned the company for decades.

Oliver’s father killed himself when his son was just seven; worse, the boy witnessed his father’s suicide.

An exceptionally bright but undeniably odd teenager, it is through him that Jonathan meets his beautiful 19 year old sister, Vivien. Jonathan is smitten, and the siblings draw him into their own secretive and deeply compromising adventures. Gradually, his life becomes ever-more involved with the Wren family. He grows close to Vivien and Oliver’s stepfather, Greville Lashley, a seemingly benevolent and hugely successful businessman who takes Jonathan under his wing.

The upshot is a permanent job offer – and Jonathan agrees to return to work at the business after finishing his degree.

Throughout his long career working for Lashley as his international troubleshooter, Kelloway encounters a series of mysterious deaths, all associated with his master’s family. It becomes his destiny to unravel their secrets.

A superb novel.

JUDY

Loved this book. An amazing thriller, full of completely unexpected and clever twists, consistently dramatic and unpredictable.

The protagonist, Jonathan, is a delight. Upright, moral, yet imaginative enough to understand what makes people behave badly under pressure.

The murderous family secrets are beautifully played out to the extent that often you don’t know if a death is suspicious or not, and I especially loved Jonathan’s teenage love affair with the beautiful Vivien, who is so obviously out of his league, and so damaged by what has happened to her brother.

The scenes on Capri, where Vivien’s great-uncle Francis owns a villa, are dreamily beautiful. And I adored the innocent but brave way Jonathan gets involved with every new horrific twist; every nasty surprise (including a brush with the Neapolitan Mafia) that this rich, toxic family throw at him.

Poor Jonathan is about to lose his innocence forever. And yet, in a way, he never does. In 2010, as a 60-year-old, he finally solves the fraudulent, murderous family secrets of the Wren clan. Yet he is just as loveable and instinctively wise as he was when he was 18.

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