Gripping and brutal this is a story that I couldn't put down, a rollercoaster ride for anyone looking for a thrill - Charlotte Walker - Lovereading.co.uk
(full review) https://www.lovereading.co.uk/book/22010/The-Tests-by-Robert-W-Kirby.html
Stunning debut - A really great read. Interesting, believable characters, realistic dialogue, lots of tension and plenty of twists and turns. I look forward to reading more of this author’s books - Amazon Reviewer
From the remnants of childhood memories and trauma, Alex Clayton's reunion with his old friends weaves a tale that is part murder mystery and part psychological thriller as past chases present with terrifying consequences - Goodreads Reviewer
This was a great read, packed full with action and tension that will reel you in and keep you turning the pages. The twists and turns took me completely by surprise - Goodreads Reviewer
I became fully invested in the lives of these people. The story is violent and brutal but this is counterbalanced nicely with moments of reflection and 'what could have been' - Barnsey's Book Blog https://www.barnseysbooks.com/2021/10/the-tests.html#more
Dark and all-absorbing to the very end… Gripping and unsettling, the novel makes for a page-turning read. - The Prairies Book Review
"A powerful story of recollection, depravity, and redemption. Its moral and ethical force will remain in the mind long after the final pages are read." - D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
The Tests proved to be a dark, gripping read which discusses the secrets one group of friends has kept for over thirty years. It kept me hooked from start to finish, offering up several unexpected twists which caught me off guard, alongside featuring characters who were rich and complex. Themes included: the past, loss, friendship, secrets, and the need to prove oneself to gain a sense of acceptance and belonging. Recommended to: lovers of dark thrillers, with many unexpected twists. - Bookish Beyond. https://bookishbeyond.com/index.php/2022/01/31/the-wrong-girl-by-robert-w-kirby/
The Tests (Crime, Drama / Mystery, Thriller)
The Tests is currently unavailable. It has been republished with Inkubator Book and re-launched under the new title The Wrong Girl.
At the start of the summer of ‘88, Alex Clayton was desperate to find his place in the world. Bullied at school and reeling from the recent loss of his mum, he sought friendship from local girl Sheryl Denton, and her colourful group of friends, Ben, Janette, Corkscrew and Gavin. But to join their group, Alex first needed to undertake four notorious initiation trials, known as the tests.
That year changed everything for Alex and shaped his entire life. The events that unfolded during that long summer would haunt the group forever.
Now, over three decades later and living in Edinburgh, with his wife, Natalie, Alex’s past jeopardises his marriage when he has memory dreams that are so intense, Natalie becomes concerned her husband is hiding a secret about his childhood.
Alex arranges a reunion with the old group, and travels back to his hometown in Kent, to piece together the events of ‘88. He must face his past, and face Gavin, who is a tormented soul, with nothing to lose. Gavin harbours a deep hatred for Alex and holds him responsible for a tragedy that occurred when they were kids.
Whilst Alex searches for answers, so too does Natalie, as she becomes hellbent on finding out what her husband is hiding.
As Alex and the group revisit moments from their past, dark secrets come to light, past feuds reignite, and things spiral out of control. It soon becomes clear that everything may not have happened as Alex remembered, and the truth can only lead to total devastation for all those involved.