Safe And Sound By Philippa East
‘Safe And Sound’ is the latest book by Philippa East.
In a small London bedsit, a radio is playing. A small dining table is set for three, and curled up on the sofa is a body. Jenn is the one who discovers the woman, along with the bailiffs. All indications suggest that the tenant – Sarah Jones – was pretty, charismatic and full of life. So how is it possible that her body has lain undiscovered for ten whole months?
This is a creepy novel that really pulled me in from the first unsettling page. The story is primarily seen through the narrative Jenn, who’s job is in charge of tenant management. When one of the tenant hasn’t paid their rent for 3 months, it’s her job to investigate what is happening. But Jenn gets the shock of her life when she discovers that the tenant has been dead for a number of months. And sadly Jenn can’t get the image of the dead woman sitting on the sofa with a place setting for 2 other people knowing no one place turned up and wondered if she was ok.
The woman is known as Sarah Jones but no one comes forward as her next of kin. Jenn develops an obsession with Sarah, wanting to know all about her and how one person can have no one, particularly as Jenn knew Sarah briefly and she was a warm and kind personality.
As the story develops, we join Jenn as she slowly unravels, dealing with anxiety, fear and uncertainty as her job is in jeopardy and her fear for her little boy’s health is constantly on her mind. Even though Charlie is a healthy little boy, she monitors him religiously looking for any sign of sickness.
The story is not only seen from Jenn’s perspective but there’s also an additional narrative from a little girl called Prin who’s used to having her parents and toys to herself but has to adjust to a new way of living when her cousin Jane comes to stay. Where Prin is spoilt and boisterous, Jane is meek and quiet and hiding from something.
The story is actually based on a true of a young woman, who died in 2003 but her body wasn’t discovered until 2006 and it does make for genuinely sad reading that these women weren’t discovered nor was anyone looking for them. Right from the offset, this book is a suspenseful story, Jenn is an anxious character and sometimes it’s hard to decipher what is real and what is fake and this really does keep the reader on their toes.
An atmospheric and taunt thriller from the very start, ‘Safe And Sound’ is a claustrophobic story focusing on isolation and the fragility of mental health with plenty of twists and shocks that keeps the reader engaged.
You can buy ‘Safe And Sound’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.