Vixenhead

Written by E.V. Seymour

Review written by Adrian Magson

Adrian Magson is the author of 23 spy and crime thrillers. His last book was ‘Smart Moves’ – a standalone – and his next is ‘Rocco and the Price of Lies’ (April 2019), the 6th in the Insp Lucas Rocco series set in rural France of the 1960s. More information: https://www.adrianmagson.com/


Vixenhead
HarperImpulse
RRP: £0.99
Released: March 24 2017
eBook

For journalist Roz Outlaw, learning that her partner Tom Loxley has an almost pathological hatred of social media and having his photo taken seems a little quirky, but nothing too alarming. Finding out that he never wants children is something else for she had always assumed that one day he’d change his mind.

However, when Roz overhears her partner having an apparently private phone conversation with someone; then finds a social media page which Tom has opened on her brother’s laptop and she views a picture of a woman named Stephanie Charteris (who looks disturbingly like herself) - sets off a chain of bombshells she hasn’t been prepared for; that is until Tom disappears without warning.

It’s the start of Roz realising that nothing is ever going to be the same again. Because he hasn’t just gone – it’s as if the Tom she knew never existed. In a panic she contacts the police, but is quickly given a run-around; and it’s not just that they can’t seem be bothered – they actively warn her off trying to delve too deeply into his disappearance. Employing her journalistic skills, Roz tracks down the mysterious Stephanie, a mother of a small girl. She discovers that Stephanie is a widow and that her deceased husband Adam (the father of her child) was killed in a tragic accident in Thailand, and then is shown a picture of… Tom Loxley.

Anger, despair, betrayal, puzzlement and a feeling of hopelessness crowd in at this series of confusing shocks. But it doesn’t stop Roz for long; she wants and needs explanations. There are myriad questions. Is Tom/Adam a criminal? Is he in some sort of witness protection program? And how can the Tom she knew have been into drugs? Is that the secret? Did he ever love her or was their time together one big lie?

However the answers are complex, and there are criminal elements involved, albeit not just the obvious ones. The real answers to Tom’s behaviour rests much, much deeper, and takes Roz on a journey way back into his past. She is compelled to find out what has driven this man she loved to be two different personalities possessing a whole range of conflicting facets.

This is an unfolding story of finding out the true meaning of opening a can of worms; of discovering that a person you loved and thought you knew, was so besieged by a conflict of emotions, doubts and guilt that it ruled every moment of their life.

Eve Seymour piles on the many twists and turns in this psychological crime novel exceptionally well. What might have been an over-emotional story in less capable hands is kept buoyant by her skilful handling of the speed and pace of Roz’s search for the truth, and her having to face up to physical danger and the hard cold truths of a reality that she could never have imagined.



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