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The Bitterest Pill
by Howard Robinson

Category: Fiction / General
282 pages; ISBN: n/a

Rating: 8/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Kathryn Lively


This book is available in paperback or eBook from

This was to have been a time of new beginnings for Tom and Jane Devlin. Having rebuilt their marriage following a rough period of marital infidelity, the Devlins are preparing to leave England for the solitude and serenity of the French countryside. Tying up loose ends at work, for Tom, anyway, proves somewhat difficult when he is alerted that one of his students, Paul Chapman, is truant.

Paul's reasons for his behavior, as well as his loss for reason, are understandable. Having recently discovered he was adopted, the sixteen-year-old spirals into a drunken anguish that soon ends tragically with a car theft and the involuntary manslaughter of Jane. The revelation that he is well-acquainted with the boy responsible for his wife's death heightens Tom's anger and suffering, but these feelings are only a fraction of the pain he is to endure as the criminal investigation reveals some surprising secrets about Jane's past. Such secrets Detective Nathan Trimmer tries to conceal until the proper, yet brazen journalist Jackie Challis, a woman more concerned for her career than the feelings of others, seems to get the upper hand.

Fearing Nathan is taking this case too seriously, his live-in mate encourages him to take a break, but one of Nathan's own secrets is revealed. He can sympathize somewhat for Paul, for he too was adopted.

Howard Robinson, in The Bitterest Pill, weaves dramatically, the pains of frustrations of characters linked together through a common tragedy. A search for truth leads to destruction for Paul, and Robinson skillfully paints the angst of youth through tense scenes with his adoptive mother, whose love never wavers, as well as illuminating themes of societal indifference through the loathsome (yet also sympathetic) Jackie. The Bitterest Pill is an engrossing drama, a fictional minefield through which the reader is certain to find a few surprises.



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