A twenty-five-year old murder, a missing girl, and a fatal attraction in a small seaside town…It is the first Sunday in August 1970. Another beautiful day in a summer that is burning itself to a horrifying close. A lone swimmer, Jennifer Stone, strikes out from the shore of Pelham Bay, deep into the blue. With her eyes closed against the sun’s sparkle, she floats blissfully into the rigid corpse of a young woman in a tattered red dress.
The next day, a local girl disappears. She is never found, and both investigations are closed.
Twenty-five years later, Jennifer, by now a Fleet Street journalist at the top of her game, returns to visit her mother’s home in Pelham Bay. Upon opening the local newspaper, she discovers that the failed investigations have been reopened. Back in London, a high-flying government minister reads the same story and his world is shaken.
What happened that blazing August a quarter of a century ago will shape both his and Jennifer’s futures, as intense tragedy is resolved and a long-buried mystery comes to light.
The Cruelty of the Morning is a tale of dangerous obsessions, small-town secrets and a destructive, mesmerising love affair.
Hilary Bonner’s powerful debut novel caused a storm in the then relatively cosy world of crime fiction when it was first published in 1995. Indeed the sexual content was so strong that Hilary was asked to tone it down - the first time in their hundred-year-plus history that her publishers Heinemann had made such a request of a first-time author.
‘Hilary Bonner’s secret is that as a top journalist she's been there, seen it close up and asked the crucial questions. She plots with pace, passion and that marvellous ability to keep you turning the pages long after you meant to put out the light’ - Peter Lovesey, bestselling crime writer
‘A darkly erotic thriller. Mesmerising