What would you do if you found out you only had a few months to live? Adam Shaw – the protagonist in Steven Savile’s Parallel Lines – is faced with this question when he’s diagnosed with a serious degenerative disease. Adam has less than a year to ensure his disabled son will be taken care of for the rest of his life, and he must act fast.

Adam’s job as a probability specialist means he’s familiar with calculating risks and planning meticulously. He uses his expertise to arrange a bank robbery to secure his son’s future. However, he accidentally shoots one of his hostages and completely loses control of the situation. The employees trapped in the bank realise Adam is desperate and devise a way to help him get what he needs, but this means they’ll become criminals in the process.

The hostages have their own secrets, and some of them are more dangerous than Adam. We get brief snapshots into their lives and their perception of the robbery. What starts as a normal working day for them turns into something much more sinister, and whether they like it or not, they all need to work together to make the best of this messy situation.

Although I enjoy gradual character development in hard-hitting novels, the quick glimpses of the different characters’ lives are still enough to create suspense. Steven Savile has weaved an intricate thriller that makes you wonder what you’d do in these extreme circumstances. The main action takes place over 12 hours, making this a tense and exciting read. And to top it off, there’s a killer cliff-hanger too.

★★★★

Parallel lines was published by Titan Books on 14 March 2017