The Temp by Michelle Frances
The Temp by Michelle Frances is one of those books where you think you’ll just read one chapter and then 10 chapters later you are so engrossed you have to put all other plans on hold – which isn’t really great at Christmas.
I read Michelle Frances’s The Girlfriend earlier this year and loved it. The Temp is definitely as good.
Carrie is a successful TV producer and her husband Adrian, a BAFTA winning script writer. Trouble is he stole the idea for his BAFTA winning show from someone else and she’s out for revenge.
When Carrie goes on maternity leave, Emma, a temp, takes on her role. Emma is great at her job, enthusiastic and full of ideas. Emma knows both Carrie and Adrian from when she wrote to Adrian looking for work experience several years ago and in her letter explained she was working on an idea for a script. This turns out later to be Adrian’s award winning show Generation Rebel.
Emma wants revenge on Adrian. She’s calm, manipulative and calculating and worms her way into Adrian and Carrie’s lives. However it all goes wrong when Emma sleeps with Adrian. Emma tells her producers and Carrie the truth about Adrian stealing her show once she goes to the couple’s beach house and finds the letter she wrote to Adrian all those years ago. Trouble is Adrian admits to sleeping with Emma and she gets fired from the current TV show they are working on.
Meanwhile Carrie and Adrian’s marriage, which was already falling apart due to the birth of baby Rory, completely collapses when Carrie finds out about his infidelity. This is the final straw as Adrian cannot accept their lives have changed due to Rory as he never really wanted the baby. Carrie has always been suspicious of Emma and this is heightened when she hears nothing from Adrian for several days.
Emma traps Adrian at the beach house and holds him hostage. She ties him to the fire place and leaves him without food and water for nearly 24 hours. Meanwhile it’s as though trapping Adrian has freed her of writers block and she spends a night working on a script. Adrian realises what she’s doing and becomes enraged. When Emma goes into town to print her script Adrian manages to free himself. By this time Carrie has turned up at the beach house and Adrian thinking Carrie is Emma tries to strangle his estranged wife. In the tussle Adrian falls backwards and hits his head on the stone corner of the fireplace.
Following Adrian’s death, it’s revealed Emma chose to write to Adrian as she is Carrie’s daughter, who Carrie gave up for adoption. The book does have a happy ending as Emma’s script is nominated for a BAFTA and the book closes with the impending announcement of whether Emma has won.
As with The Girlfriend, the book has so many twists and turns and I thought it did get slightly nuts when Emma turns out to be Carrie’s daughter however don’t let this detract from what is a great thriller.