Sometimes the guilty are innocent
Joey Clarke was just fifteen when his dad died, leaving him to raise his much younger siblings as his mum dealt with the trauma of bereavement and her failing health. Ten years on, Joey’s only pleasure is spending time with his friend Becca, the love of his life. It’s the one escape from his dead-end job, his ever-increasing debts, and the fear that enforcement agents will knock on his door any day.
So when a phone call brings Joey the chance to ease the burdens of his life, he grabs the opportunity, even though he knows things are not entirely as they should be. He justifies it to himself as a way to get back on his feet. But when he finds himself party to a crime involving Becca, he panics.
As Joey tries to find a way out, he becomes further embroiled in a web of secrets, lies, and deceit. At risk of losing everything and everyone he holds dear, Joey must consider the unthinkable.
While it can be nice escapism reading thrillers full of affluent people in luxury settings, maybe sipping champers on a mega yacht sometimes you want to be able to see yourself in the characters. So you can ask yourself the age old question what would I do?
That is what AJ does so well, she takes ordinary people and puts them in realistic situations but cleverly places a ticking bomb of a twist right under their feet. In The Phone Call she takes young Joey and makes him the man of the house after the death of his father, with that comes a lot of responsibilities and cost. His mum’s health is deteriorating and can barely work and the debts are piling up fast, there are the empty cupboards and school trip fees to worry about too.
With the cost of living crisis and many people feeling the pinch to their finances it is easy to put yourself in Joey’s shoes. However there is a wise old saying “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is”. But when you are in a desperate situation and young children and family are involved then desperate measures sometimes seem the only way out.
I however put myself in the shoes of the person I know best, his mum. My heart was breaking as he closed himself off to her, thinking he was being protective by keeping her out of it.
Then came the shocker, that ticking bomb I mentioned earlier was so unexpected and well plotted that I hadn’t seen it coming and my jaw was on the floor. They are probably chalking it up at the crime scene now.
The Phone Call is a fast paced, gripping thriller that turns the tables on what makes a criminal and leaves you wondering what it would take for you to become one too.
About the author
AJ CAMPBELL is the author of the Amazon bestselling debut novel Leave Well Alone. She writes in the psychological suspense genre and promises stories full of twists, turns and torment. Her fourth book The Phone Call was released in July 2022. AJ draws inspiration for her novels from seemingly unbelievable situations in which ordinary people find themselves. She creates compelling characters that resonate with her readers. AJ lives in the UK on the Essex / Hertfordshire border with her husband, sons, and cocker spaniel, Max. A dog lover, Netflix junkie, wine and Asian food enthusiast, either reading or writing, AJ enjoys nothing more than getting stuck into a twisty book!
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