Crammed with Eighties references from Margaret Thatcher, Echo & the Bunnymen and Jane Fonda aerobics to Laura Ashley décor, Visions quickly immerses you in the world of Eleanor Chapman. Visions is part two of Eleanor’s story which started in the 1970s in Beginnings and will ultimately end far into the future. ‘Same Face Different Place’ by Helen J Christmas is an ambitious thriller series focussing on a single gangland incident which has reverberations across the decades. It is a study of how to react to threats and violence, the nature of victimhood, and the power of fighting back.
There are times in Visions when it covers old ground from book one, but nevertheless the story slowly reeled me in. After the events of Beginnings, Eleanor and her son Elijah live in a caravan in a Kent village, safe from the London criminals who threatened them. Their neighbours, James Barton-Wells and his children Avalon and William become close friends. However Westbourne House, the ancestral home of the Barton-Wells family, is crumbling. When the house is declared a ruin and the repairs too expensive for James to pay, a sinister property developer offers to help. All too soon, his nasty son and equally nasty sidekick bring terror to the quiet village as the tentacles of threat from the past find Eleanor’s hiding place.
There are scenes of nasty violence which remind the reader this is not simply a story of petty crime. Eleanor, her family and new friends must face intimidation, assault, sinister stalking and abduction. At the heart of their survival is a defiance born of knowing they are right.
Read my review of Beginnings, first of the series. If you like Martina Cole-style psychological thrillers, try this.
‘Visions’ by Helen J Christmas, #2 Same Face Different Place series [UK: Chichester Publishing] Buy at Amazon
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