I’m thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for Tubing today – a debut novel that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Polly, 28, lives in London with her ‘perfect-on-paper’ boyfriend. She works a dead-end job on a free London paper… life as she knows it is dull. But her banal existence is turned upside down late one drunken night on her way home, after a chance encounter with a man on a packed tube train. The chemistry between them is electric and on impulse, they kiss, giving in to their carnal desires. But it’s over in an instant, and Polly is left shell-shocked as he walks away without even telling her his name.
Now obsessed with this beautiful stranger, Polly begins a frantic online search, and finally discovers more about tubing, an underground phenomenon in which total strangers set up illicit, silent, sexual meetings on busy commuter tube trains. In the process, she manages to track him down and he slowly lures her into his murky world, setting up encounters with different men via Twitter.
At first, she thinks she can keep it separate from the rest of her life, but things soon spiral out of control.
By chance she spots him on a packed tube train with a young, pretty blonde. Seething with jealousy, she watches them together. But something isn’t right, and a horrific turn of events make Polly realise not only how foolish she has been, but how much danger she is in…
Can she get out before it’s too late?
Tubing isn’t my usual kind of read. I like a thriller, but I don’t tend to read novels with overtly erotic themes, but I’m so glad that I gave this novel a go, as I really enjoyed it, and whilst the “action” on the packed tube trains is a central part of the novel, there’s so much more going on here than sex between strangers.
I think that the idea of tubing is a fascinating one, and I haven’t quite dared look up whether it’s an actual thing. It seems as though people would get caught, but even as a non-Londoner, I know better than to look at people on the tube where people tend to withdraw into themselves, avoiding eye contact at all costs, and so it’s a plausible idea. Either way, I’m pretty sure that I’ll be thinking about this novel every time I’m on a packed tube journey for some time to come!
I thought that Polly was a fascinating, if not entirely likeable, character. At 28, she’s is in a relationship that would sound ideal to many, but it’s one that she’s not entirely satisfied with. That first illicit encounter on the tube gives her a taste of temptation and excitement that she simply doesn’t get from boyfriend, and it doesn’t take long until she is hooked on tubing, even though some of her encounters are a little uncomfortable. I think that there’s an element of the grass being greener here, in that tubing gives Polly an experience of being with other men and of having fun which to her seems more interesting than the steady relationship that she is in.
The plot moves along at quite a pace as Polly becomes obsessed with tubing and tracking down that handsome stranger from her first encounter, and it’s shocking at how quickly her life spirals out of control as she loses interest in her job, family and general “real life” concerns. I wasn’t sure where it was going to go, but I loved how McKeagney brought things to a close, even if I thought that the ending was a little abrupt. Additionally, I had some unanswered questions at the end, largely around Polly’s mother and her notebooks. This was a minor point, however, and didn’t mean that I enjoyed the novel any less, and overall, Tubing is a highly enjoyable thriller with a bit of a twist, and if you’re not sure about it, I’d encourage you to give it a go (the novel, that is)!
Tubing is published today – 10 May – by Red Door Books. Many thanks to Anna and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this title, and to take part in the blog tour.
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Make sure you check out the other stops on the tour: