Author of the best-selling The Girl With All The Gifts, M.R. Carey, continues to terrify readers with his second novel, Fellside. Muswell Hill is where Jess Moulson, and her partner John, lives. They’re drug addicts who utilise their light fingers to feed their habit.
One night, while the couple are in the middle of a drug fuelled binge, there is a fire in their flat and Alex Beech, small boy who Jess has befriended in their block of flats, is killed. Jess is pulled from the burning building and is accused of setting fire to the flat, and of killing little Alex. Jess can’t remember a thing, but is torn up because she cared for the boy. She is swiftly convicted while a public and press outcry rings through the ears of all around. After her conviction, Jess is taken to Fellside – the most notorious women’s prison in the country – where she is immediately an enemy to all those inside who believe that killing a child is the worst thing you can go to prison for. Jess seeks solitude from those out to cause her harm by staying in her cell.
However, in the early hours she is visited by the ghost of Alex Beech who has something urgent that he wants to tell her. Throughout her time in prison, Jess becomes more detached from the real world, and comes to rely on Alex for company. Even when a young solicitor takes on her case and sees light at the end of the tunnel for Jess, she can’t escape her night time out of body experiences where she visits another world.
This book is utterly compelling. It’s intricate and fascinating, and you realise very quickly that there is much more to the story than meets the eye.