Book review: The Fall by Claire McGowan

September 7, 2022 – 09:32 am

The Fall
by Claire McGowan
Headline, 2012.

The Fall tells the story of the aftermath of a crime from the point of view of three characters. Charlotte, in PR, is engaged to Dan, a city banker. Charlotte and her mother have been planning the wedding to the nth degree for many months. A week before the big day Dan, frustrated at the obsessively detailed and protracted level of effort required to organise the event, decides he’d like to go to a night club after a terrible day at work, so drags Charlotte (who would rather be designing place mats) to a Jamaican club as Jamaica is where they plan to go for the honeymoon. Totally out of character, we are told, the two of them take some cocaine before setting out.

Keisha is a young woman whose 5-year-old daughter Ruby is temporarily living with her mother under the guidance of the social services since Chris, Keisha’s partner and Ruby’s father, broke the girl’s arm in a fit of temper. Keisha has been besotted with Chris ever since the age of 13, allowing him to dominate her completely. Despite having no money (Chris steals what Keisha earns as an off-the-books care-home assistant), Chris insists on taking Keisha to a club one night as he has “business” to do there.

After both couples arrive, the owner of the club is murdered. Dan is the chief suspect, so is taken into custody and after interrogation by DC Matthew Hegarty, is charged with the crime. Because he fails to get bail, he’s imprisoned awaiting trial. The book tells the story of subsequent events from the points of view of Charlotte, Keisha and Matthew, as the two women separately have to ditch their previous assumptions and cope with new ways of life, and Matthew becomes drawn into the case in a way he could not predict and that might jeopardise both it and his career.

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