This is Barkworth’s first novel and she’s hit the format out of the park: Heatstroke is pacy and gripping, with neat use of enigmatic flashbacks. The characters of Rachel and Mia are elegantly drawn, with Barkworth capturing the intensity of a mother-teen daughter relationship, and Mia’s tics and language are well-observed, as are the parochial preoccupations of the other local mums. It’s a stylish thriller with plenty of secrets; certainly, it’ll spice up a staycation.
Don't be fooled into thinking this is a light summer story. It's an atmospheric read that will draw you into its tangled web. At the beginning of summer, 15-year-old schoolgirl Lily goes missing. Rachel is Lily's teacher, and her daughter, Mia, is one of Lily's best friends. As Rachel becomes fixated on Lily's absence, secrets, desires and obsessions surface. Does Rachel know more than she's letting on? A thought-provoking debut.