’13 Minutes’ – Sarah Pinborough

13 Minutes


Sarah Pinborough is a new author to me, and on the basis of my response to this I think I will have to try and get my hands on some of her other novels. Quickly!

’13 Minutes’ starts with an arresting image of a teenage girl being dragged, unconscious, from the water. Despite being technically dead for thirteen minutes, Natasha survives. We then cut immediately to a number of different perspectives which alert us to the fact that there is more to Natasha’s accident than we at first thought.

Natasha is reminiscent of Regina in ‘Mean Girls’ or Alison in ‘Pretty Little Liars’. She is the girl who tells her small circle of friends what is in and what is not. Everyone wants to be her. Yet she is not liked, and under the surface she is not quite¬†what everyone thinks she is.

Once Natasha has been rescued we follow a fairly small circle of characters as the police, and Natasha’s ex-best-friend Becca, try to work out who is responsible for what happened to Natasha. Pinborough gives us a range of perspectives, and the undercurrent of menace is crackling from the start. We think we’ve got it, and then a new detail is revealed and we’re back to the drawing board.

I really did not want to put this down once I’d started. This is a tale set in a murky world of half-truths and deception, that sucks you in. Fairly late on there is a startling revelation which, for me, felt a little disappointing. It worked, but I felt there should have been more to it. There was! Swiftly following on from this was another development that took this book from the simply good to the absolutely amazing.

A masterful piece of storytelling.