The Catch by T M Logan: Superbly plotted story from its terrifying and tantalising opener to the electrifying killer punch in the final chapter - book review -

Teacher Abbie Collier has a new boyfriend and he’s a real catch… the charming and caring ex-Army officer is a successful businessman however her dad's instincts tell him his daughter is in terrible danger, but no one else can see it

Wednesday, 10th June 2020, 12:30 pm
The Catch
The Catch

Teacher Abbie Collier has a new boyfriend and he’s a real catch… the charming and caring ex-Army officer is a successful businessman and she reckons they are the perfect match.

But Abbie’s dad, Ed, senses something of the night about Ryan Wilson, the man ‘with the looks of a catalogue model,’ and he’s determined to track down the truth. The only problem is that Ed is an over-protective father with a history of causing trouble, and he has secrets of his own.

Is Ryan a danger to Abbie, or does Ed have a hidden agenda which is sending his ability to make judgments dangerously off beam?

Former national newspaper journalist T.M. Logan is making his own headlines these days with a clutch of gripping, superbly crafted page-turners, including Richard and Judy picks Lies and The Holiday, which have turned him into a contemporary king of the psychological thriller.

And this master of suspense certainly hits a raw nerve for many readers with this tense, taut, twisting tale of a middle-aged man, desperate to protect his daughter, but whose life falls apart as he starts to dig relentlessly into the past of his future son-in-law.

When his beloved 24-year-old daughter arrives with her boyfriend of seven months, doting dad Ed Collier is ready to try to like him. It’s the first time the family have met Ryan Wilson because his job with a recruitment firm takes him on frequent overseas trips. Abbie’s mum, Claire, thinks the couple have ‘a real connection’ and grandma Joyce thinks he’s ‘a lovely boy.’

But it’s when his eyes meet Ryan’s that Ed instantly senses that ‘something is not quite right about him.’ The feeling for Ed is primal and visceral, it’s a jolt of ‘nervous static,’ an inner knowledge that hidden in the dark shadows behind Ryan’s eyes is ‘a wolf crouching… ready to pounce.’

And when the happy pair announce that they are already engaged and planning to marry in six weeks so that terminally ill Joyce can attend the wedding, Ed is determined to make private enquiries to find out if Ryan, a decorated former Army officer and special policeman, is lying about who and what he is.

Ed’s instincts tell him his daughter is in terrible danger, but no one else can see it, and the more he attempts to uncover Ryan’s secrets, the more he alienates Abbie and Claire who are both convinced that Ryan is The One. Ed has reasons of his own for wanting to keep his daughter safe, and secrets that may be affecting how he judges Ryan.

As he becomes increasingly obsessed with his future son-in-law, Ed’s own life begins to go into freefall. With the wedding date fast approaching, can he finally find the evidence to prove that Ryan has been lying to them… before it’s too late?

Domestic noir is proving to be rich territory for this acutely observant writer who has the ability to look into the dark heart of family relationships and expose the neuroses and fault lines that make them the ideal stage for recognisable, flawed characters and enthralling dramas.

And The Catch delivers the best kind of suspense thriller entertainment as Logan plays with our perceptions and tugs on our inner fears in this unsettling, twisting, turning journey through the fraught and complex landscape of our principal narrator Ed’s troubled mind.

His disturbing zeal, his recklessness, his guilt over past events, and his obsessive belief that Ryan is not the man he appears to be, drives this superbly plotted story from its terrifying and tantalising opener to the electrifying killer punch in the final chapter.

Set against the dark peaks of Derbyshire, The Catch is compulsive, clever and will take you prisoner and invade your thoughts long after the last page has turned.

(Zaffre, paperback, £8.99)