I’m a reader with extraordinarily limited patience. If the author hasn’t written a first page that grabs me, hauls me in, has me salivating to find out more, then forget it. I haven’t time or inclination to work hard. OK, call me grumpy, but that’s my state of play.
Yet again Head of Zeus hasn’t failed me. Find Me by J.S. Monroe does the biz.
So, let’s do a catch up: Five years ago Rosa walked to Cromer pier (I’ve been there on holiday as a child – nice to be able to picture a place). It was night, and she jumped. It was assumed it was suicide – the girl was grieving for her father, she couldn’t cope.
But is this really it?
Jar her boyfriend thinks not. He sees her everywhere, which is actually not an unusual thing if you’ve been chucked or have lost a love, which is why it works well.
You know the thing, there’s that face in the crowd – surely it’s him/her …
But it isn’t.
I can remember high adolescent angst when dumped. Now, when thinking of it I sniff and think – idiot, he didn’t know what he’s missing, and besides now he’s probably bald and fat, whereas I am… Well, OK, not bald but …
Anyway, that’s not the point, so let’s not get picky.
It’s more than this for Jar. He’s absolutely sure that Rosa is alive and then he gets hold of her diary… Then he gets an email from Rosa… Ah, but, we could say, it could have been written by anyone…
So, is it from Rosa?
The structure is interesting. We have Jar in the present, Rosa in the first person in the past – diary entries? So a picture is forming. Monroe builds the tension well, holding back information but feeding us enough to believe she is alive, that there might be a threat, but is there?
This is an intriguing novel, lots of twists and turns and a dark underbelly. I enjoyed it. It would be a good film, as Monroe’s third, Dead Spy Running will be, and which is currently in development.
One more thing. Can I be Kirsten (I gather a make up artist can work miracles)?
Who’s Kirsten? Read the book and find out. You won’t regret it.
Find Me by J.S. Monroe. pub Head of Zeus. hb. £12.99