Tina Seskis is likely a name that is unfamiliar to readers. Her debut novel, One Step Too Far, made a splash when released in the UK and is now finally making its way to the States. This psychological thriller will appeal to fans of complex and realistic domestic tales shrouded in mystery.
The novel opens with Emily Coleman turning her back on her current life and leaving her family behind. It is clear from her actions that this is not something she wants to do, so much as something she has to do. Yet, even with this odd introduction to the character, readers will immediately be intrigued by Emily.
The journey takes her to a new town where she quickly finds an available flat to live in. Sharing the place with an eccentric group of bohemians allows her to spend less of her limited money on rent. Luckily for Emily, contacts among her new friends are able to help her secure a job and this begins the process of leaving the past behind. In fact, she even begins to use a different name to help her mind adjust to this new lifestyle.
Alternating chapters with Emily as she begins this new life are chapters from the perspective of others in her circle – both past and present. So readers see chapters from her husband’s viewpoint, outlining how things are going for the family she left behind, chapters documenting the lives of her roommates, and even chapters about her youth and the difficult relationship she shares with her twin sister, Caroline.
What starts out as an interesting study of one woman’s efforts to start over suddenly takes a dark turn about midway through. Emily becomes addicted to drugs and slowly her new world starts to fall apart around her. By this point, readers understand that she cannot go home again, even if the reasons why remain unclear.
Seskis packs the tale with many twists and turns. There is one (non-critical) surprise which will shock (and delight) even the most jaded readers. However, this is not a book that exists only for the twist. The characterizations and motivations are all fully realized and believable. If things are tied up into a bit too perfect a bow at the end, this is a small complaint at the conclusion of a beguiling read.
By the time readers reach the conclusion of Tina Seskis’ One Step Too Far, they will fully understand Emily Coleman’s need for a new life and many will relate to the emotional strife which led her to this difficult choice. It is only then that Emily’s healing can begin.
Disclaimer: An e-galley of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the publisher. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.