You Need Me by Sharon Bairden

Blog tour: 12 to 19 October 2021

Synopsis

‘Your secret didn’t die with me.’

The mysterious note tucked inside the pages of a recently returned book leaves librarian, Morag McLaughlin, chilled to the bone. She knows it was meant for her.

Someone out there knows her darkest secrets and they could destroy everything.

Torn apart from her own family, she will stop at nothing to create a perfect new one.

Why are they all so ungrateful? She’s only looking after them …

Isn’t she?

My review

Set in a small town in the north east of Glasgow called Lennoxhill, You Need Me centres around the lives of five people and the story is told from their viewpoints. They are 55-year-old librarian, Morag McLaughlin; Ronnie Whiteside (26), who lives with his mum; Susan Bonner (25) and her daughter Lily, 4; Jess Wishart (24), who works at a café on the high street, and Alan Aitken, a thief and drug addict.

Each chapter is from a different character and we gradually build up a picture of their lives as we learn more about them. It makes for tough reading as we find out about the main protagonists and what they’ve experienced at the hands of their relatives, particularly their parents.

Right from the start, the book makes for chilling and uncomfortable reading. There’s something bubbling under the surface, something we’re not being told, and it’s all rather creepy and disturbing, rather like the characters themselves, who have strange ideas about friendships, relationships and family.

On the face of it, Morag, Susan and Jess seem nice but they’re all rather two faced, are hiding secrets and have specific agendas. I didn’t trust any of them and was worried about how things were going to play out in the story.

Morag runs a special group at the library and she encourages misfits to join her Tuesday morning session so that she can keep an eye on them. With her big handbag of memories, she’s clearly a complicated woman with ‘secrets nobody must ever find out’. I’m glad I don’t go to that library!

Jess works in the popular local Café Marianna’s, which is owned by her boss, Marion. She keeps an eye on the various goings on and befriends Ronnie and looks out for him. She’s similar to Morag in that she tries to be friendly to people who are less fortunate than her and who others shun. She even talks to Radio Joe, who can always be found sitting on a park bench with an old transistor radio pressed to his ear. He’s probably the happiest person in town!

As I was reading, I was wondering what the connection was between the characters and how the story was all going to be resolved. I had several theories but I couldn’t put it all together and was surprised by the ending!

Overall, I was gripped by this rather dark, chilling and twisted novel and couldn’t put it down as events raced along and things got more and more out of control. It was a fascinating read and very intense and the small town setting, with its unsavoury housing estates, felt claustrophobic and unsettling.

I felt so sorry for the main characters, who’d all had a tough life and been let down by their families and partners. Most seemed to have mental health issues and several of them were hearing voices and struggling to ignore their inner thoughts. They were all rather untrustworthy and secretive, with ulterior motives, and all up to something!

I’ve had the author’s debut novel, Sins of our Fathers, on my wanted list for a while and it sounds equally disturbing so I must buy a copy soon!

Buy the book

You Need Me by Sharon Bairden can be purchased from Amazon on Kindle and in hardback and paperback. Or purchase a copy directly from the Red Dog Press online shop. There’s also a limited edition hardback. See also Ethical Book Search.

About the author

By day, Sharon Bairden is the services manager in a small, local independent advocacy service and has a passion for human rights; by night, she has a passion for all things criminal. She blogs about books at Chapterinmylife and is delighted to be crossing over to the other side of the fence to become a writer.

Sharon lives on the outskirts of Glasgow, has two grown up children, a grandson, a Golden Labrador and a cat. She spends most of her spare time doing all things bookish, from reading to attending as many book festivals and launches as she can. She has been known to step out of her comfort zone on the odd occasion and has walked over burning coals and broken glass – but not at the same time!

Twitter: @sbairden

Blog tour

Thanks to Sean Coleman at Red Dog Press for my digital copy of You Need Me and for my place on the blog tour.

See the banner below for more stops on the #blogtour.

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