Friday, 17 May 2019

Book Review: Sixty Seconds by Jesse Blackadder

Sixty Seconds
Jesse Blackadder

Publisher: Harper Collins 
Publication date: 18th September 2017 
Pages: 384
Format Read: eBook
Source: Courtesy of the publisher via Netgalley

Inspired by the author's own family experience. The Brennans - parents Finn and Bridget, and their sons, Jarrah and Toby - have made a sea change, shifting from chilly Hobart to a sprawling purple weatherboard in subtropical Murwillumbah. Feeling like foreigners in this land of sun and surf, they are only just starting to settle when, one morning, tragedy strikes - changing their lives forever.

Determined to protect his wife, Finn finds himself under the police and media spotlight. Guilty and enraged, Bridget spends her nights hunting answers in the last place imaginable. Jarrah - his innocence lost - is propelled suddenly from his teens into frightening adulthood. As all three are pushed to the limit, questions fly: Who is to blame? And what does it take to forgive?

A haunting and ultimately redemptive story about what it takes to forgive.  

Sixty Seconds is a poignant story that explores the aftermath of a sudden and tragic death and the different ways people react and reconcile with the loss.

Bridget wants to find blame and to direct her heartache into hate, both strong emotions that can feed off each other. Finn tries to find solace in their shared grief but is pushed away by Bridget. Their teenage son Jarrah is not only suffering loss, he is trying to fit into a new school and struggling with identity. It is heartbreaking watching him dealing with his conflicting emotions alone.

This story is so confronting I found it hard to read and had to put it down on occasions. There are support workers that have their own agenda to push and empathisers that want to unburden their own demons. And when you think this family has suffered the worst imaginable, life just keeps throwing more tragedy their way.

The narration is unique as it is told in multiple POV and multiple narrative styles. Finn is in 3rd person, Jarrah is 1st person (which worked well for the teen perspective) and Bridget is 2nd person (I didn’t particularly like this because I find the use of ‘you’ did this and ‘you’ did that sounds quite accusing and confronting). The characters are well developed and their actions wholly believable.

Author Jesse Blackadder drew inspiration from her own tragic experience to write this heartbreaking and compulsive story of loss.

Sixty Seconds is a story that explores loss, forgiveness, hope and the rebuilding of a family that has been shattered.

This book has been re-released in March 2019 as In the Blink of an Eye.

Content: Child death
                Sexual references


 My rating  4/5  

*this review is part of the Book Lover Book Review Aussie author challenge
and book #17 in the Australian Women Writers challenge

Jesse Blackadder is an award-winning novelist, freelance journalist and budding screenwriter. Her novel The Raven's Heart won the Benjamin Franklin Award for historical fiction (USA), and her novel Chasing Light earned her an Antarctic Arts Fellowship. 
She is also the author of three children's books, Dexter the Courageous Koala, Paruku the Desert Brumby and Stay the Last Dog in Antarctica. This is her fourth adult novel. 




  1. Good review, I couldn't get into this when I read it, I didn't like the mother. I didn't finish it at around 50% maybe one day I'll try again

    1. I know exactly what you mean about the mother and I think that's because of the second person POV. It's very accusatory when you're reading it.

  2. Sounds like an interesting read! Thanks for the review!

  3. I ran to Netgallery but alas, I'm too late

  4. This sounds like an emotive read. Thanks for sharing.
    Gemma @ Gemma's Book Nook

  5. I'm not sure how well I could cope with the different perspectives, especially as I absolutely hate second person perspectives. Lovely review.