‘The Ties That Bind’ is an enjoyable read with nice descriptions, a great setting of Brighton and well-drawn characters.
The reason why I wasn’t so much invested in the story was the fact that the story seems a bit schematic. I like the characters and it is very interesting to have gay characters in the book. However, their inner life is not explored. Some writers, like Louise Welsh, go the extra mile to explore the sexual and romantic lives of gay characters. The premise itself is not that original. The book deals with the story of the journalist who embarks on a story and quickly, he is very involved in the story is writing. The story of Joss Grand and Jacky Nye is interesting with the twists that we later embark on and the whole idea of the criminal-turned-philanthropist. The stakes are there with the another would be journalist disappearing off the face of the earth. This seems like something that was not done before. The story very much reminds me of ‘Zodiac’ movie.
There are some twists in the novel, but they seem so inherent to the story that the reader very much expects them. The prologue is action-packed and has this immediate sense of danger. This is Erin Kelly’s trademark. However, the opening chapters after that do not serve any real purpose in the story besides setting the emotional journey of a character. They do nothing for the main plot. For me this is too slow-burning for a thriller. Although this is true that this builds the stakes for the character, who just needs to deliver on this project.
Overall, ‘The Ties That Bind’ is a great venture for any fan of Erin Kelly, but it is fair to say that it is not as thrilling as her more recent novels or ‘The Poison Tree’.
If you like this article, check some of my other reviews.