Review: A Face In The Crowd ★★★.5

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Lucy gets the same bus every day.

She hopes to get a seat to herself, tries to avoid eye contact, and, if she’s really lucky, reads a chapter of her book. 

But it’s a Friday – and the bus is always crammed at the end of the week. Personal space doesn’t exist. She keeps her elbows close and clings to a pole at every juddering stop. 

When she gets off, something feels different. 

An envelope stuffed with thousands of pounds is in her bag. 

Is it the answer to her prayers, or the beginning of a nightmare? 

Because, in the end, everything has a price.

A Face in the Crowd starts with Lucy finding an envelope containing over £3000 in her bag after her usual bus trip home. This raises the interesting question of what you would do in this situation. Lucy knows she should hand it into the police but when unexpected living expenses come up, Lucy uses the money to cover the shortfall, and she’s soon spent over £1000. In this situation we’d all like to think we would do the right thing and hand the money in, but in a situation where you are struggling to make ends meet, would you be able to? It also made me think about at what point would you hand money in rather than keep it for yourself? If you find a pound coin on the floor you don’t think twice about pocketing in, but what if it was £20, £50? At what point as a society do we consider it stealing, rather than just good luck?

After Lucy has spent some of the money she begins to feel like she’s being followed. Is she just being paranoid, or is there someone watching her every move?

This was a bit of a slow build. For a while we see Lucy going about her life as normal, starting to spend the money as necessary before we get a sense that there’s something wrong (other than her finding thousands of pounds in her bag). It did build up the suspense well as there are plenty of suspects, and it’s not clear whether there really is a stalker, or if it’s just Lucy’s imagination. Finding large amounts of money generally means that there’s someone who wants it back, so is Lucy just feeling guilty?

This was an interesting read, but I would have liked to see the ending expanded on a bit more. It felt a bit rushed, and there were parts I thought could have been explained more. Overall I did enjoy the book, and I’ll look out for more from this author.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for my copy of the book. All opinions are my own.

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