For somebody who generally takes two or three weeks to read a book, my recent three-day book sprint is rather remarkable. The last time I read anything so quickly was probably as a student procrastinating from studying. Never Let Go wasn’t even a book I would normally have picked up at the library or bookstore. I tend to stay away from covers that shout “thriller” and that is exactly what the rather chilling cover communicates.

Yet, I sought out the book within a week of its release date for two simple reasons. Firstly, its author Gareth Crocker is a South African, something that fills me with a dash of patriotic pride. Secondly, Gareth spoke at a publishing conference I attended recently, and he inspired me. Listening to his humorous account of finding a Literary Agent, and his dogged perseverance to be published, encouraged me to keep going on my own writing and publishing journey.

So—I admit—there was a bit of a halo effect at play when I started reading Never Let Go. However, my motives soon became secondary to the riveting plot. Within a few pages, I was swept into the fast-paced world of Reece Cole, an award-winning author whose five-year-old daughter is kidnapped.

If you think the book is a standard police mystery, with Reece and the authorities trying to get his daughter back, you would be mistaken. From the beginning, you know that things are not going to turn out well for Reece. “If she died…What if you could get her back?” is the disturbing sentence on the book cover, introducing both the profound despair and thin thread of hope inherent in the book.

In fact, Never Let Go is one of those rare books that defy classification. Thriller…Suspense…Science Fiction—it is all, yet none of these, and for me that is what made it such an interesting read. I never knew what lay around the next corner, which is what kept me reading for three solid days. I also enjoyed the witty dialogue in the book, and the depth of emotion that Gareth managed to build into his main character, attributable—I think—to the fact that he is a father of young daughters.

The book does contain some violence and language.

Never Let Go is Gareth’s third book, and is published by Penguin. His debut novel, Finding Jack—the story of a Vietnam soldier and his dog—was published in New York to international acclaim and was translated into several languages. Gareth co-authored his second book, Journey from Darkness, with his father. Read more about Gareth and his books on his website.

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