Kelly Johnson’s life falls apart when her husband mysteriously disappears from a train. But when a dead body turns up close to Kelly’s house, she’s the number one suspect on Mike West’s list. In a thrilling investigation that extends to Cornwall, West must uncover the truth behind Simon Johnson’s disappearance.
You may have noticed that I’m gradually working my way through the collection of works by a lady named Valerie Keogh.
After enjoying her standalone novel Exit Five From Charing Cross, and her Nicola Connelly series (Deadly Sleep and The Devil Has Power), I decided to go back and read her very first novel. Having been impressed with Keogh’s work so far, I was intrigued to see how it all began and was sucked into Mike West’s story.
I found it a little difficult to get into to begin with based entirely on the fact that it’s set in Ireland and at first I couldn’t work it out, but when the realisation dawned on me, the book flowed seamlessly.
I loved Mike West as a character (and I can confirm that I’m now reading the sequel which is even better!) and I was intrigued by Kelly Johnson. Although she’s been written as a deliberately repulsive character – based on her lack of hygiene from months of depression and mourning – I don’t think her character really improves throughout the book. As we get towards the middle, we see a new side of her through West’s eyes and our originally assumptions about her are put to one side.
The story itself is a great page turner, there are a lot of twists that keep you on your toes and at the edge of your seat. I love the travel element and although the majority of the story takes place in Ireland, we’re transported for brief periods of time to Cornwall. The sheer desperation and raw emotions of the characters really kept me reading.
I struggled at times to understand who West was talking about when he was trying to figure out the case, and I think this is at no fault of the author but simply because the crime is identity theft – rather than murder – and when you recognise two characters being called the same name, and multiple scams happening simultaneously, I found it quite hard to keep track of – but I think that is genuinely down to my blonde moments.
I liked the ending and how the story resolves itself, I also particularly liked the final scene as throughout the book you have an inkling as to what might happen, but when the final page comes, the complete opposite has in fact taken place which is a nice final twist that avoids any pretence of cliché.
I’m trying really hard to be detailed without actually telling you what happens!
Overall I really liked this book and I’m already reading the sequel which, I have to say, is even better. Hopefully I can get a review ready for next week.