Cape Times

A psychologi­cal thriller that’s not just about GBV and domestic tension

- LIESL VAN DER SCHYFF

ARAMINTA Hall's One of the Good Guys is not just another domestic thriller – it explores the harsh realities of domestic abuse and safety of women.

The book opens with a social media campaign post “Walk for Women” to end the scourge of gender-based violence (GBV) and from the start, the storyline draws you in with its raw honesty and blurred lines between right and wrong.

“In the past twelve months, four of our friends have had their drinks spiked in a nightclub, nine of them have been called w **** s for refusing advances from drunk men, eighteen touched inappropri­ately...We’re not one of the 1500 women murdered each year in the UK. Because for those who die there are thousands of others living in fear all day every day.”

Divided into three segments, Hall introduces us to one of the main characters in the book – Cole Simmonds, a wildlife game ranger. He seems to be a decent guy, but as I continued reading, I wondered whether he was as genuine as he appeared. I started reading this book while waiting in a queue at Home Affairs doing an ID applicatio­n for my son. As I read, I found myself getting lost in Cole's world – his struggles and the mystery surroundin­g him. Separated from his wife after a failed marriage and IVF treatments, he decided to start afresh in the countrysid­e of London.

In the second segment, we get to know Cole's estranged wife, Mel. Here too, I was engrossed in the short pieces of her life with Cole where Mel breaks down the years of their relationsh­ip and why it was so difficult during the failed IVF saga. The third segment is about a famous artist living on a cliff in the countrysid­e.

The artist was working on a show about female fear and male violence. And alongside these three segments are the two social media influencer­s hiking along the coast. Without giving too many spoilers away, the disappeara­nce of two activist women causes a storm in the media and on social networks. Later a dubious plan to seek revenge captures readers in this thriller.

Hall's “One Of The Good Guys” is a modern take on real round table discussion­s. It may not be everyone's favourite read, but it will leave you with so many pertinent questions around the safety of women.

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