The Rule by David Jackson


Daniel is looking forward to his birthday. He wants fish and chips, a big chocolate cake, and a comic book starring his favourite superhero. And as long as he follows The Rule, nothing bad will happen. But Daniel has no idea that he’s about to kill a stranger.

Daniel’s parents know that their beloved and vulnerable son will be taken away. They know that Daniel didn’t mean to hurt anyone, he just doesn’t know his own strength. They dispose of the body. Isn’t that what any loving parent would do? But as forces on both sides of the law begin to close in on them, they realise they have no option but to finish what they started. Even if it means that others will have to die…

Because they’ll do anything to protect Daniel. Even murder.

Scott and Gemma Timpson and their son Daniel are struggling financially. Daniel has learning difficulties but is physically big and doesn’t know his own strength, hence the titular rule preventing him from touching others. When Daniel accidentally kills someone, Scott disposes of the body but the police are looking for the murderer. Scott becomes more involved in a criminal underworld as grieving detective Hannah tries to solve the case.

Hannah is a fascinating character as she recently lost her daughter and still regularly sees her and talks to her. It’s incredibly moving as she and her husband deal with their grief and their new life without their daughter. I lost a child a few years ago so this definitely hit home but Jackson’s writing is sensitive and well written.

As with all of Jackson’s books, The Rule is incredibly fast paced with psychologically complex characters and fascinating settings. The high-rise building that Daniel lives in, and which is central to much of the plot, is incredibly atmospheric and menacing. As with Jackson’s last book, The Resident, the building becomes increasingly claustrophobic and dangerous and the tension never lets up throughout. There are plenty of surprises as Scott will do anything to protect his family and becomes the type of person he never expects to become.

I’m a huge fan of Jackson’s books and I can’t recommend The Rule highly enough.

Viper, July 1, 2021

About the author

David Jackson is the bestselling author of Cry Baby. His debut novel, Pariah, was Highly Commended in the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger Awards. He lives on the Wirral peninsula with his wife and two daughters.

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