Book review: Down to Earth by Melanie Rose

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When Michaela Anderson hits the ground after a parachute jump, she doesn’t expect to land six years into the future...

The airfield is deserted and derelict, her car has disappeared, spring has changed to autumn and her watch is telling her it’s nine at night instead of three in the afternoon.

Is this real or just a bad dream?

Original, intriguing and utterly compelling, Melanie Rose’s brilliant new novel will grab you from the first page and hold you spellbound to the last.

Mystery is the key to its success – is Michaela’s predicament a sci-fi fantasy, a malevolent conspiracy or just a wild imagining? In this beguiling, twisting-and-turning thriller, guessing will get you nowhere...

A personal assistant with a small insurance company, Michaela lives with widower Calum Sinclair and his 10-year-old daughter Abbey and they lead a pretty humdrum life.

She has agreed to do a charity parachute jump along with three of her work colleagues but is finding the experience a bit scary.

In fact, as the plane takes off, she starts wishing she was anywhere but here. ‘Be careful what you wish for, sometimes the cosmos is listening,’ her mother often says...

Encouraged by dishy instructor Matt Treguier, Michaela takes the plunge but is hit by a sudden and violent tidal wave of air and dark clouds as she descends.

And it’s from this point on that her world turns upside down. Dazed and disorientated by the darkness, she stumbles to a nearby pub only to find that frantic phone calls to her boyfriend and parents are getting no answers.

Even more disturbing is the discovery of a faded poster on the pub wall with a picture of her face on it and proclaiming that she has been missing since April 15 2002, the day of the jump.

A newspaper reveals that it’s now October 2008 so where has she been for the last six and a half years?

There’s only one person who can help...instructor Matt scribbled his telephone number on a scrap of paper and it’s still in her pocket.

But the world has changed considerably since time stood still for Michaela. She’s not sure who she can trust and there are some shocking revelations ahead.

Everybody has a theory about her missing years, including amnesia, abduction and collisions in space, but Michaela is determined to discover the real truth wherever that may lead...

Down to Earth is an extraordinary story packed with suspense, frissons of menace, gritty reality and a sprinkling of romance.

Top-class entertainment...

(Avon, paperback, £6.99)