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Sunday 18 August 2013

Recognition by Kate Vane


On the whole, not a bad thriller, but it needs some tidying up.

Nat Keane was a young police officer when Sandie Thurston was murdered in her own bed and then found with her young daughter, Amy, asleep beside her. Amy was quite possibly the only person who could identify the killer. In her capacity as family liaison officer, Nat worked closely with the family through this awful tragedy. A man (well known to the family) was eventually convicted of the murder, but for some reason Nat didn’t feel it was the end of the matter. Ten years later, having left the police force to become a trauma counsellor, she is asked to work with Amy and her father, Martin, again. Amy is now a truculent and obstinate teenager. Some would say her behaviour is normal, perhaps a result of an overprotective father (not just her childhood trauma), himself overcome with grief...and guilt...of his own. Nat gets close to the family again. How much can a fifteen-year-old remember? Why is Martin so guilt-ridden? Is the right person in prison? So many secrets and lies.

A sub-story runs parallel to this, with Nat’s partner, Dylan, a criminal lawyer. The story lines touch just very briefly, as his client finds himself in the same cell as Sandie Thurston’s convicted killer.

The issues I had with this novel was that the sub-story wasn’t very neatly tied up, and I didn’t find myself fully convinced about Nat’s skill as a trauma counsellor or her commitment to her relationship with Dylan. It was all a bit ‘woolly’. 

However, I did quite enjoy it: I certainly found myself avidly page-turning and Kate manages to keep the suspense right to the end. She certainly had me fooled. Amy was well conceived as the unsettled teenager, who tested those close to her with her behaviour. Far from being dislikeable, she made you want to give her a hug of security and motherly love. I think Nat, Dylan, and Martin needed a little more development, but they just about managed to hold the story together. The writing, although quite good, did need a buff and polish: there are some wearily long sentences connected with way to many ‘and’s. I desperately wanted to throw in some fullstops! A good/professional edit/proofread would iron this and other errors out nicely.

Conclusion? promising.

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