In my search for the next best horror writer, I came across C.J Tudor. Stephen King has famously said, “If you like my stuff, you’ll like this.” There are other thriller writers who have heaped praises on Tudor.
I first read The Chalk Man by the author two years ago (review will come up soon). Then I read The Taking of Annie Thorne last year and have just finished her third one, The Other People, which I liked the best of the three.
The Other People focuses on a father, Gabe, whose daughter Izzy has died. While driving down the motorway one evening, he thinks he sees her in the car in front of him. Through the back window, the girl looks at Gabe. It’s his daughter for sure, Gabe thinks. The girl mouths one word: Daddy. Oh, now it’s definitely her. He’s convinced his daughter is alive and not dead. He chases the car but loses it. The girl is gone.
For three years, Gabe is still driving up and down the motorway, hoping to find the same car with his daughter in the rear seat. He’s convinced his daughter is alive– he wasn’t able to identify her dead body because he was too much in distress.
Running parallel to Gabe’s narrative, we see Fran and her daughter Alice on the run. There are some people after them. They are a lot on the same motorway a lot, always trying to stay far ahead from the “other people.” Fran knows what the Other People are capable of, hence all the running away from them.
Then we have Kate, the waitress who waits on Gabe at the diner he frequents. She gets involved in his life and his search for his daughter.
All these people’s lives are connected at one point.
Then suddenly, the aforementioned car in which Gabe saw his daughter is found from nearby lake. There is a dead body in there- not his daughter but someone else. There are marks on the body, which leads to some clues. Gabe begins searching out for the truth. No one believes one, except one man, who calls himself the Samaritan.
The clues lead him to a group who call themselves the “Other People.” Who are they? What do they do? Is his daughter still alive or not? And what’s all this supernatural stuff happening?
C.J Tudor writers really well in this book. It is literally a page turner. I had thought I’d read it over a couple of days, but I was engrossed and engaged with this book that I had to spend the entire day reading it to find out the truth. The book is a dark psychological horror book with some elements of the supernatural. The flow is just about perfect. There are no boring bits that slow down the narrative, I mean, if anything, the pacing of the book worked perfectly like a clockwork.
It is a book about grief and loss, about that special bond between father and daughter, and about that fine between fact and fiction.
I will not say that the writer is on par with Stephen King just yet, but who knows, maybe she gets there one day. She does cite Stephen King and James Herbert as her influences so you can see who she’s aspiring to be. Having said that, Tudor does have her own distinct way of telling a story, and I for one, am looking out for next one.