books, reviews

Book Review: Substitute – Susi Holliday

Three people live. Three people die. You make the choice.

Like any mother, Chrissie wants to protect her family. She would do anything to keep them safe. So when a mysterious stranger turns up at her door, offering to prevent the deaths of the people she loves, it sounds too good to be true. The only problem: she must choose someone to die in their place. A substitute.

When her daughter Holly has a terrible accident, Chrissie has no option but to enter the programme. In that horrifying moment, she would do anything to save her. But even after Holly makes a miraculous recovery, Chrissie is convinced it’s just a coincidence. After all, who can really control the laws of life and death?

But as the dangers to her family escalate and her chosen substitutes begin to disappear, Chrissie finds herself in an underworld of hidden laboratories and secretive doctors. And the consequences of playing by their rules are far deadlier than she ever imagined…

My thoughts: I’m a member of the author’s early readers club on her website so I was really thrilled to get early access to this book, thank you Susi.

A really clever, twisted and creepy, story of science and how it can be used for harm as well as for good. Chrissie just wants to keep her daughter Holly safe and well, like any mum, but when the mysterious Joseph offers her a way to ensure that Holly won’t die, but someone else will, she takes it.

What starts out sounding like a serial killer fantasy becomes something else as we move back in time and meet two young researchers, who may just have found the elixir of life – a way to bring someone back from the dead, as long as they’ve only just died. No zombies here.

As the plot unfolds it gets more and more sinister, the government get involved with the scientists and Chrissie begins to worry about her deal with the stranger. Who might not be such a stranger after all.

As the answers come thick and fast, Holly is in danger and time is running out to save her. Absolutely gripping and so very clever. Loved every second of it.

Out now from all the usual suspects.

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