🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
Twenty years on from the rape and murder of Dani Lancing, the people who loved her are still suffering the profound after-effects. Jim, the father to whom she was so close, has retreated into a fantasy world where his closest companion is Dani’s ghost – whether real or a product of Jim’s grief is left very much to the reader to decide. Tom had loved Dani since they were children and has devoted his career in the police to trying to bring to justice men who murder women. But Dani’s mother wants revenge and has spent the intervening years trying to find out who killed her daughter. Now with advances in forensic science, the case is about to be reopened…
This is a skilfully written and intriguing crime novel and it undoubtedly held my interest throughout. The characterisation of all the main players is very strong and the author gives a credible portrayal of how grief has affected them differently. Dani is a complex character – we see her through Jim’s eyes as the perfect golden child, but we also gradually get to know the other darker side of her life through flashbacks and from other people’s accounts of her. The story looks fairly straightforward in the beginning but becomes increasingly complex as Viner introduces twists and turns along the way.
I’ve seen some hugely enthusiastic reviews of this book and to a large extent I agree with them. However I found some aspects of the story stretched my credulity too far, particularly towards the end, and my initial belief in and empathy for the characters became increasingly hard to maintain. Also we are frequently given a sudden new piece of information that changes everything only to find that the characters already knew about it – only the reader was being kept in the dark, which made it feel as if Viner wasn’t playing fair with his audience. The tone seemed somewhat strange too – the first half of the book is filled with pretty much unrelieved sorrow and grief and then as the story begins to unfurl, Viner introduces some frankly comedic elements. I admit that made it a more enjoyable read but the contrast felt awkward in places and the initial sense of realism suffered a bit.
A well and cleverly written book and an enjoyable read overall, though, that will certainly encourage me to look out for the author’s future work. Recommended.
NB This book was provided for review by the publisher, Crown Publishing.