By Ekta R. Garg
October 11, 2017
Release date: September 28, 2017
Rated: Binge it! / 5 stars
A man suspects his girlfriend of stalking him, but he has no idea why. A woman comes home to her apartment to find it ransacked. The two live in different parts of the city but as the man starts to investigate circumstances that become more bizarre by the day, a connection emerges between the two. Author Paul Pilkington returns with command and confidence in a novel that hits all the right spots in the brand new thriller For Your Own Protection.
Matt Roberts is fighting hard to bring some normalcy back to his life. After a personal crisis, he’s in the midst of a leave of absence from his day job as a fund manager at a prominent London bank. It doesn’t help that the high point—or low point, depending on how a person looks at it—of the crisis started with Matt himself. He cheated on his longtime girlfriend, Beth, and even though they share a child Beth kicked Matt out.
Beth is kind enough to let Matt see Charlie, their son, but she’s definitely moved on to another relationship. After all this time, Matt has too but something about his new girlfriend, Catherine, makes him wonder. He thinks he’s seen her in odd times and places when they didn’t have a date, almost as if she’s following him. But why would Catherine want to follow him? Their relationship seems fine, albeit a little shallow.
Rachel Martin doesn’t know how she’s going to move forward in life. Her fiancé died in a horrific bicycle accident when someone hit him with a car, and one day when she comes home she finds out someone has turned her apartment upside down. Nothing seems to be missing, but clearly someone was looking for something. Paranoia sets in, and with good reason. Not long after the home invasion, Rachel suffers a terrible accident herself.
Matt comes to hear about Rachel’s accident through a series of situations that he can’t believe he’s following. They start when Charlie goes missing. Then Matt pins down Catherine on the issue of her following him. Both events start a chain reaction that will take Matt to parts of London he’s never seen before, and he’ll find himself challenged in a way that will make his indiscretion with Beth seem like a minor issue.
Author Paul Pilkington’s readers have come to expect stories that fulfill every promise made by his genre of choice, and For Your Own Protection doesn’t disappoint. As with his other books, Pilkington creates characters who readers will feel like they know well. He offers a tour of London in the form of written sightseeing as Matt and the others struggle to make sense of a senseless situation.
Pilkington has a knack for tying a series of conflict knots that seem beyond solutions and then pulling one thread to make each knot unravel in a way that will keep readers flipping pages. His signature stroke in previous books—cliffhanger endings for every chapter that leave readers practically breathless—has been restrained somewhat in this story, and the result is a more even, more thoughtful pace. While some readers might miss the frenzy, the story becomes more enhanced as a result of the measured approach. Pilkington still includes plenty of exciting moments, and he’s still able to surprise readers by the end.
A few minor points may stick out. Matt’s sister, who doesn’t play much of a role in the larger story, shows up early in the book and then disappears, and a seemingly dangerous situation gets resolved a little too neatly. Yet readers won’t care when they step into Matt and Rachel’s world. With Pilkington’s signature mystery-telling techniques at work, readers will forgive small slights against the plot. With its more strategic pacing, as compared to previous books, For Your Own Protection is Paul Pilkington at his best yet.
I recommend readers Binge For Your Own Protection by Paul Pilkington.