Published by Hodder
In the past few days I have undertaken quite a surreal experiment.
The last time I can recall reading a book to try and get it under my belt before seeing an adaptation was reading the last pages of Dennis Lehane’s ‘Gone Baby Gone’ whilst in the queue for a preview screening.
When I found out that Erin Kelly’s debut crime novel ‘The Poison Tree’ was about to air in two parts on ITV1 I tried to get it read beforehand, but then work and stuff got in the way so I made sure I was halfway through before watching the first episode, thinking that should put me in about the right place so as not to spoil things.
I watched the first episode, gripped with the knowledge of what I was expecting to happen and, as is often the case with television timings (particularly those which need to cater for advertisement breaks) the pace was changed, the order of events seemed to be swapped around in places and a major scene broke out which I was in no way prepared for with the first half of the novel read.
Then, when the first episode was over, I returned to the book and ploughed through it, finding that although a lot of what I’d just seen on the screen was happening on the page it had been altered to have some characters performing the actions of others and other changes such as where one of the central characters, Rex, worked in prison and what work he was looking for when back in the outside world.
I absolutely loved the book and can only kick myself for not getting around to reading it in its entirety a long time ago, but the television adaptation also seems to be shaping up very nicely with a strong cast and a nice structure to it.
Now, I can’t wait to see the concluding episode this week to see how things tie together in the visual version as, for now, Erin Kelly’s ‘The Poison Tree’ exists in my head like a twisted, haunting dream where the two incarnations share the same themes and major characters and yet each have their own individual lives as though I have walked down two paths of the same dark woodland.
For all those reasons, both the book and the series will remain in my mind for a long long time.