Alex Lake’s latest novel; Ready or Not, is both dark and mysterious, but also so much fun to read. In a small village in England, a serial killer with a hammer is murdering young people at night, on their walks home from jobs or pubs. There is no rhyme to the murders, and the police have no suspects. Tom and Alice Sark are happily married with a beautiful baby girl, Joanna, but something is happening. Joanna is getting bruises on her arms and legs and her parents cannot figure out how. Lack of sleep also exhausted them, as baby Joanna is up all night, every night. When Alice, a journalist, starts writing about the murders, their lives become a nightmare as the killer focuses on their family.
This is a plot that pulls you in immediately. I will admit that some scenes with the baby are cringeworthy, but the author will leave you guessing until the very last second of the book. As the reader, I had a sense from the beginning of who the culprit was, but the circumstances were entirely surprising. It is written from several perspectives, including an anonymous person pinching the baby, Alice’s perspective and Tom’s perspective. And there is one scene from Tom’s brother, Roland, who is a recovering heroin addict, recently welcomed back into the family. Every character that Lake has created is interesting and noteworthy. Alice is not a likable character, and I found her perspective not always reliable but found Tom to be earnest and likable, as a Father trying to keep his family safe. As the tension builds, we see the authentic story forming, but there are so many surprises throughout. This author is very skilled at engaging his reader.
This is the first book I have read by Alex Lake, and I can’t wait to read his other titles. This is a serial killer story with a lot of plot twists. Ready or Not had a great pace, and I was able to read it in one sitting. The flashbacks throughout the story were helpful in putting the puzzle pieces together. There is a major twist at the end, which I had sort of guessed early on. This suspense novel is excellent and all you really want at the end is for the baby to be ok. So, I raced through the pages to find out what would happen.