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The Silence Between Breaths by Cath Staincliffe

Eight people, one deadly secret.

Passengers boarding the 10:35 train from Manchester, Piccadilly to London, Euston are bound for work, assignations, reunions, holidays or new starts, with no idea that their journey is about to be brutally curtailed.

Holly has just landed her dream job, which should make life a lot easier than it has been, and Jeff is heading for his first ever work interview after months of unemployment. They end up sitting next to each other. On board customer service assistant Naz dreams of better things as he collects rubbish from the passengers. And among the others travelling are Nick with his young family who are driving him crazy; pensioner Meg and her partner setting off on a walking holiday and facing an uncertain future; Caroline, run ragged by the competing demands of her stroppy teenage children and her demented mother; and Rhona, unhappy at work and desperate to get home to her small daughter. And in the middle of the carriage sits Saheel, carrying a deadly rucksack . . .

 
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I think one of the reasons for this book hitting me so hard when I read it is because of the current situation in the world with all the suicide bombers in the recent years. The thought that you are no longer safe that any time or anywhere a suicide bomber may be is a reality nowadays. And, this book really shows both sides to it. First, we have the ordinary citizens on the train with different reasons for being there, be it traveling for a job interview or a wedding, then among them is a man who for some reason has decided to become a martyr for a cause, and by taking as many lives with him as possible. And, at home, a little sister is checking her big brother's computer and finding something she never thought that she would find...

This book is heartbreaking and so chilling to read. The characters on the train are introduced in the beginning of the book one by one. And, by letting the reader getting to know them, making the characters come alive and then turning the world upside down has Cath Staincliffe written a powerful book that from the beginning until the end is so gripping that I could hardly put it down. For me were the chapters with Saheel's little sister a very powerful inclusion in this book. Her side of the story, her point-of-view is just as tragic as the ones on the train. Saheel's action has such a big impact not only on the people on the train but also his own family. They will never be the same again.

It's terrifying how one person's actions can affect so many lives, and this book shows just how in an instant, all your hopes and dreams can be destroyed, but it also shows how people can after facing a terrible situation gathered together and not let evil triumph.

 
I want to thank Little, Brown Book Group UK for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!