White Crocodile

Written by K.T. Medina

Review written by Angela Hatherell


White Crocodile
Faber & Faber
RRP: £12.99
Released: August 7, 2014
Trade Pbk

In Cambodia there is a sense of foreboding hanging over the minefields left by the Khmer Rouge. The local superstitious peasants believe it to be the evil spirit of the White Crocodile.

 

A Charitable Trust has sent a team to clear the mines. The team is headed by a Scot, MacSween, and second-in-command Jakkleson. The other members of the team are Alex and devil-may-care Johnnie. These two make the most of the local girls, and treat them very casually, "Just fun" says Johnnie. But there is something sinister going on, and numbers of girls have "disappeared." 

 

To join the team comes Tess Hardy, who has served in the Army, ostensibly to help with clearance, but really to try to discover the fate of her husband, Luke, reported dead in the area. Only two weeks after he had rung her sounding scared.

 

Tension is very well maintained as accidents happen, and Johnnie is very badly injured in an "accident" in the minefield.  The trafficking of the girls is traced to an organisation in England, and Tess tries to find out more. All the team members act suspiciously, and it becomes apparent that the trafficking could be organised from within the camp, trading on the fear of the White Crocodile. One by one the team members come under suspicion, and tension mounts.

 

With a degree in Psychology and five years in the Territorial Army with the Royal Engineers K.T. Medina appears to be well-qualified to produce this gripping story: she certainly makes good use of her knowledge. This is where her psychological knowledge is so skilfully exploited, as she uses it to carry through a very cleverly complex and absorbing plot. She says she intends to continue writing: I think she will have quite a hard task to follow this one.

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