#bookreview – #Tubing by K.A. McKeagney @kamckeagney @RedDoorBooks #BlogTour
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Tubing by K.A. McKeagney. I’m reviewing this erotic psychological thriller today. I’d like to thank the wonderful Red Door Books for providing me with a review copy and for asking me to be a part of the tour.
Polly, 28, lives in London with her ‘perfect-on-paper’ boyfriend. She works a dead end job on a free London paper… life as she knows it is dull. But her banal existence is turned upside down late one drunken night on her way home, after a chance encounter with a man on a packed tube train. The chemistry between them is electric and on impulse, they kiss, giving in to their carnal desires. But it’s over in an instant, and Polly is left shell-shocked as he walks away without even telling her his name.
Now obsessed with this beautiful stranger, Polly begins a frantic online search, and finally discovers more about tubing , an underground phenomenon in which total strangers set up illicit, silent, sexual meetings on busy commuter tube trains. In the process, she manages to track him down and he slowly lures her into his murky world, setting up encounters with different men via Twitter.
At first she thinks she can keep it separate from the rest of her life, but things soon spiral out of control.
By chance she spots him on a packed tube train with a young, pretty blonde. Seething with jealousy, she watches them together. But something isn’t right and a horrific turn of events make Polly realise not only how foolish she has been, but how much danger she is in…
Can she get out before it s too late?
Gosh, Tubing is quite a book. Polly is a character who is damaged. She’s bulimic, she picks at scabs until they’re more like deep gashes, her relationship with her parents is complicated and she lives with a surgeon, her boyfriend Oliver, who ought to be a stable influence on her. But Polly wants more. So a late night sexual experience with an enigmatic and handsome stranger on a tube gives her the thrill that her life needs. But it’s such a dangerous game, more than Polly could ever realise.
I didn’t take to Polly at all. She’s selfish and rude, pretty much to everyone she meets. But it didn’t stop me being scared for her and wondering what the hell she was playing at, chasing these encounters on the tube. It also made me wonder if tubing is a real thing and, if so, how on earth the people who do it manage to keep themselves fairly well hidden. It’s very voyeuristic and from a reader’s point of view it’s all quite exciting, but I also had almost an urge to put my hands over my eyes at times as it felt like I just didn’t want to read what was going on.
The first half of the book was about Polly getting pulled further and further into the murky world of the underground, arranging assignations via Twitter. But then, the direction changed and it became much more sinister, when something quite horrible happens and Polly witnesses it. I had my hand over my mouth as I read this bit.
I have to say that I didn’t like any of the characters, not just Polly, apart from maybe Oliver, who was the best of the bunch. But this is a compulsive read, I couldn’t leave it alone as I witnessed Polly’s self-destruction in horror, leading up to an ending that I couldn’t see coming but which was perfectly pitched.
Tubing is an accomplished debut novel and I’m looking forward to book two from this author, which I imagine will be just as hard-hitting and just as addictive.
K.A. McKeagney studied psychology in Bristol before completing a Masters degree in creative writing at Brunel. She won the Curtis Brown prize for her dissertation, which formed the basis of her first novel Tubing. She has worked in London as a health editor writing consumer information as well as for medical journals. Her writing has been commended by the British Medical Association (BMA) patient information awards.
She is currently working on her second novel.