Frank is a 16 year-old boy living with his eccentric hippie father on an island in Scotland. He killed his cousin Blythe when he was 8, his younger brother Paul when he was 9 and then his young cousin Esmerelda when he was 10. He isn’t planning on killing anyone else though because, “this was just a stage that he went through”. Don't worry, I’m giving nothing of the plot away as this is actually how the book begins.
Everyone in the town is in an uproar because his genius older brother Eric has just escaped from a mental facility and is on his way home. No one knows just what Eric will do or where he will go to hide out. The one thing they all agree on though is that Eric is dangerous and out to do harm. Worrying that Eric is out to get him, Frank goes about setting up traps to ensnare him and to protect himself. It is during this time we learn, via flashbacks to the past, just how and why Frank committed those murders. We see inside the mind of a very disturbed person and my blood started to chill.
I did not anticipate liking this book as much as I did. I found myself really appreciating how well the book was written and the way the author kept the suspense up until the end. I Really didn’t see that ending coming!
Banks did a masterful job of allowing the reader to understand the characters and despite their many faults feel real empathy for them. Then too, who doesn’t appreciate reading about a family even more dysfunctional than their own. This is one of my favorite books and one I would happily re-read.