Jennifer Palmer has read crime fiction since her teenage years & enjoys reviewing within the many sub-genres that now exist; as a historian who lectures on real life historical mysteries she particularly appreciates historical cime fiction.
The memory of a tragic event in 1982
haunts the 3 children involved who have never told the truth of that day and,
30 years later, feel that someone, who knows what happened, is threatening
In 1982 some children
play a game that ends with death. The children are Luke, aged 10, his brother
Nick, aged 8 and their mother's friend's daughter Katie, also 8. They are in
Kenya, in the Masai Mara playing with some other children in the river. Fearful
of what might have happened, their mother, Sally, takes her boys back to
Ireland as her friend has already taken Katie.
The story moves
on to 2013 with the telling of chapters alternating between various characters
and with occasional forays made back into the original events of 1982. Gradually
what really happened starts to appear from these references; memories often
disagree so a clear picture is not yet possible. Other people enter the story
of the adult individuals but none of the three is really happy. The lives of
the 3 do seem to have been blighted by the terrible past which they can hardly
acknowledge. It all involves relationships both past and present, and the
secrets that are gradually being revealed.
This is a novel
about a crime but not really a crime novel. It shows the stunting of the
development of the 3 protagonists by their terrible memories (which may or may
not be accurate) and the effect of the original event on those around them then
and on those close to them in 2013. When Luke vanishes and threatening messages
begin Katie has the feeling of a belt tightening round her neck. She realises
that someone else knows what was done and wants justice. The contrasting worlds
of Ireland and Kenya are very well shown and the interweaving of the chapters
by different characters and references back to 1982 really builds up a
fascinating picture. There are some bombshells exploded as the events develop
into a thrilling climax.