The Rule by David Jackson

To be published on 1/7/2021

‘The Rule was that Daniel should avoid physical contact with others as much as possible.’

Daniel is twenty-two, about to turn twenty-three. He is looking forward to his birthday: to fish and chips, a chocolate caterpillar cake and comics featuring his favourite superhero Adam-9. While Daniel has the mind of a child, he is large and strong which means he can hurt people quite unintentionally. Hence The Rule. But a chance encounter with a drug dealer in a lift, coupled with Daniel’s inability to lie, lead to a death. Daniel’s parents, Gemma and Scott, want to keep him safe.  They know that if they report the death that Daniel will be taken away.

A decision is made, a choice which will have unintended consequences. People are looking for the dead person, and so are the police.

‘Oh what a tangled web we weave/When first we practice to deceive’

These words of Sir Walter Scott’s from his poem ‘Marmion: A Tale of Flodden Field’ came to mind as I read this novel. I kept reading, wanting to know how (and where) it would end.  And wondering, too, just how far parents will go to protect a child.

An engrossing family-based thriller with an interesting ending.

Note: My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith