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==Synopsis of the book:==
There is a sick murderer on the loose. He or she has already struck twice in two years at the Ariel College and the students are running scared. They now go everywhere in two's after two pretty female students have been killed. The press are not helping matters by called the evil person the 'Cambridge Butcher' attracting unwanted reminders to the community in general.
Now unthinkably there has been another murder as 21 year old June Okeweno body is discovered. She has been savagely murdered but this time two of her friends Nick Hardcastle and his girlfriend Olivia Corscadden are discovered in the dead woman's room both covered in blood and unable to explain what has happened. Nick is immediately arrested but Olivia is to traumatised to know or be able to share what has happened and her involvement if any in what happened.
The Police have been working with Forensic psychiatrist Matthew Denison over the past three years to try and find out who could and would commit such awful crimes. Now he is asked to work with Olivia while she is detained under the Mental Health Act and try and see if with the help of hypnosis he can unlock the truth that is hidden somewhere in her mind, exposing the evil killer. As everyone after three years and three gruesome murders needs this resolved as that's what Denison will try to do as soon as he Olivia is well enough to do it.
==My thoughts on this novel:==
Overall I thought this was a very good crime thriller. In many ways it surprised and impressed me. This was after I read the quote from Sophie Hannah on the cover it said ' Scary, tantalisingly unpredictable and very very hard to put down'. I found I was trying during the story is see all these qualities and to my complete surprise I really agree with it. As often when I see a quote while I can see what they are getting at I don't necessarily agree with it especially as you would never have a negative quote on any book cover.
However for me this is not a five star award review. The reason for this is simple I would have liked the story to start at the outset of the first murder and followed the investigation from there. Instead the story started after the third murder and it focused on taking the reader back to the events leading up to each one in mainly Olivia's eyes. I thought by doing this the author heavily reduced the suspense and the unknown as to what would happen next, as we already knew there would be another murder!!
Ruth Newman is not an author I had read or even heard off before I found this book at my local Charity Shop. I basically was looking for something different and I hoped a different author might provide this. This was Ruth's début novel and first published in 2009, since then she has written another thriller 'The Company of Shadows' in 2010. For me for a first novel it is stunning I found her style of story telling easy to follow and compelling. Indeed I am surprised this book has not picked up awards as it is a wonderful read.
Despite loving crime thrillers and Detective stories I am not a person who likes a lot of blood and gore. I prefer the thoughtful thrillers where the reader is asked to think about what they are reading. So when I read the summary of this books story on the reverse of it, I nearly put it back on the shelf. Not because it did not sound interesting but because it talked about a headless body and a 'Cambridge Butcher'. Luckily for me I was feeling in a gambling mood and at only one pound fifty I would not be losing too much if I could not get on with the authors style. Added to which I was interested in the title of the book and I wondered exactly what she meant by this and what an angel pictured on the cover had to do with it.
As soon as the story began I found it very easy to get into. Initially it dealt with the Police and the Forensic psychiatrist talking about the case and what had happened. This for me was an unusual approach and one I would not have selected myself. As I believe we could still have had the murders and then moved on to see who Denison used his skills to try and unlock the answers from Olivia traumatised mind.
Despite this I did not feel my enjoyment was too spoilt. It's just by doing this I thought the author reduced the amount of suspects when originally the field would have been wide open. I found the story had a good pace about it and I liked what I learnt about the characters within it. There was a good balance for me between the suspects in the story and the Police investigation of it.
I enjoyed the way the story unfolded and it had a number of good twists and turns as any good thriller does. It was not always pleasant reading and some of the things that where described and talked about turned my stomach. There was one very impressive twist, which I will say nothing about as I do not wish to ruin the surprise, but that really was unexpected and took me totally by surprise, enough said.
The story had practically everything. It was full of good descriptions of the students and the scenes within them. It always had me on tender hooks and I found the further I read the story the more I needed to know the solution to it. With the final few chapters full of suspense as to what the answer s would be. I found I was totally wrapped up in the story and the solution in the conclusion made sense to me. It was just the epilogue that blew me away and I don't think I have read such an excellent one ever.
The majority of the characters I thought were excellent. Although initially I did struggle to remember who was who and who was going out with who within the College residents. After a while I started to get this and also the more noticeable characteristics of the students. For me the two characters that really stood out where the two main ones namely Olivia and her psychiatrist Denison. I really enjoyed his gentle probing and the way she responded to his questions. It gave a really good insight into what had happened and I liked the friendship this in term developed.
The story length was for me just right to tell a very well thought out story that always had me thinking. It was an entertaining, gripping and captivating read that took me just 3 days to read. Because like Sophie Hannah a fellow writer so rightly said it was a book I just could not put down.
I certainly will be looking to read more from this very interesting and talented author certainly on this form.
This is a crime thriller I would certainly recommend. I was very impressed with the overall thought that went into this and I found it a story I was always involved in and very much enjoyed to, despite the gore!! For me as a début read it was excellent and I found the authors writing style easy to understand and follow. Having read and enjoyed this I would love it if it was transferred to television but you will have to read it to find out why as I am not saying any more.
Price: 4.44 New at Amazon
Publisher: Pocket Books
Year first published: 2009
Thanks for reading my review.
This review is published under my user name on both Ciao and Dooyoo.
© CPTDANIELS September 2012.