337 is a contemporary mystery which surrounds the disappearance of Sam’s mum when he was a child. Now an adult, Sam is asked to visit his grandmother, who is dying. She is in a local care home, but the family have been estranged for years.
Still harbouring anger from his childhood, Sam has concerns and fears about seeing his relative after all this time. When he discovers a frail, sick lady who only has a short time left to live and who is nothing like the grandparent he remembers, Sam guiltily begins visiting most days.
The story slowly reveals layers to this mystery with clues and hints to help most amateur sleuths. The parts set in the care home reflect the author’s own experiences of losing a relative and felt very realistic. (This piece of information was from addition material which came with my ARC copy.) When the backstory about Sam’s childhood is revealed, some of it is quite harrowing, especially how Sam and his younger brother tried to survived after their mother’s disappearance.
The book has an odd layout, with some blank chapters and the first three chapters repeated upside down at the back. The book front and back covers have the same picture but in different colours. I wouldn’t normally mention a book cover, but this seems significant, and you can pick the book up and begin reading from either end. The blank chapters portray a leap in time of several months, while the chapters written from the back perhaps encourage you to ‘go back’ and reread the story for any missed clues to the ending.
Overall, I thought the mystery was okay; I did guess the ending and I read very little mystery these days, so it may not suit avid mystery readers. The parts in the care home, although sad, were my favourite because they were so easy to believe, while the layout of the book left me puzzled and didn’t really work for me. I shall, however, be interested to read the thoughts from other readers.
N.B. Please note the double-ended upside-down opening for this book is available in books ordered in hard copy from UK booksellers only.
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337 follows the life of Samuel Darte whose mother vanished when he was in his teens. It was his brother, Tom who found her wedding ring on the kitchen table along with the note. While their father pays the price of his mother’s disappearance, Sam learns that his long-estranged Gramma is living out her last days in a nursing home nearby. Keen to learn about what really happened that day and realising the importance of how little time there is, he visits her to finally get the truth. Soon it’ll be too late and the family secrets will be lost forever. Reduced to ashes. But in a story like this, nothing is as it seems.