By Sharon Bolton
A SURPRISE hot air balloon trip is Jessie’s birthday gift to her beloved Isabel, her sister and a practicing nun. There are 13 people in the balloon, including the pilot, on this unluckiest of trips where a killer is observed in the act of committing murder.
Unfortunately, he also sees them, particularly Jessie assiduously taking photographs of him on her phone. Everyone ends up dead except Jessie, something the killer intends to rectify as he hunts her down. Unable to go to the police, there is more to Jessie than we might expect as she fights to stay alive against all the odds.
The remarkably well informed killer is an adept and skilled hunter, who it turns out has his own family trauma. Detective Superintendent Ajax Maldonado of Northumbria police is in charge of investigating the Hot Air Balloon tragedy and when it becomes clear that Jessie is alive, tries to locate her to discover what occurred. With a rising body count, disturbing fears of a yellow house in the north amongst migrants, and the connections between the multiple threads becoming clearer, there is a thrilling and tense finale.
This is a story of ghosts, trauma, obsession, unreliable memories and what families will do for each other. It outlines the horrors waiting to befall migrants and how a family history can come to be distorted. It is about the difficulties of coming to terms with loss and grief.