Keeper by Jessica Moor

4 Stars from me

This is a sad yet captivating psychological thriller which will (and should) get under your skin.

Split into ‘Then’ and ‘Now’ we follow (mostly) Katie and how she falls prey to a calculating abuser and becomes trapped in a spiral of subtle and steady abuse. I think anyone reading this book needs to think about their own family members and their own circle of friends – a hugely sad part of this story for me was that Katie’s friends and family essentially let her down and pretty much helped Jamie build his prison of coercive control around her. Her mum was taken in by his charm and ignored the red flags and her friends just let go…

‘Now’ focuses on the police who are initially investigating Katie’s death, and is told primarily from the point of view of Detective Sergeant Whitworth, although also by some of the women living in the Widringham women’s refuge.

DS Whitworth is old school and seemed a little of out his depth at times. I felt he was lacking in awareness and quite possibly this is real issue for victims. His younger side kick, DC Brookes seems more able to relate and there are hints at some darkness from his past which suggest a reason for him being able to connect with the women and children at the refuge.

Val who runs the refuge is a great character and I like to think that there are plenty of Vals in the world striving and pushing in order to provide a little bit of sanctuary and safety for people in this situation.

There is a great pace to the plot of this book and the alternating between ‘Then’ and ‘Now’ added a measure of urgency – particularly so in the ‘Then’ parts as it almost felt like Katie could be saved.

Knowing the writer has experience of working in the sector adds a layer of credibility.

I didn’t enjoy the ending.

Just BTW, I found Keeper hard to find on Good Reads, it seems to be listed on there are The Keeper but I could only find it by searing the authors name.

 

Synopsis: He’s been looking in the windows again. Messing with cameras. Leaving notes.
Supposed to be a refuge. But death got inside.

When Katie Straw’s body is pulled from the waters of the local suicide spot, the police decide it’s an open-and-shut case. A standard-issue female suicide.

But the residents of Widringham women’s refuge where Katie worked don’t agree. They say it’s murder.

Will you listen to them?

An addictive literary page-turner about a crime as shocking as it is commonplace, Keeper will leave you reeling long after the final page is turned.

Between You and Me by Lisa Hall

Between You and Me5 Stars from me!

Such a clever book!

I will confess to discovering and reading this book purely because of the author’s name… but I’m so glad I did! I sat down with it one Friday bank holiday morning and I read and read and read and read. Several cups of tea and two coffees later I had read the whole darn thing!

Between You and Me tells you a story from two different perspectives, I found I very quickly had a ‘favourite’ out of these two and read the other person’s versions almost dismissively! Because the two different view points are both written in the first person I will admit that I found the first couple of chapters almost difficult to read. Not because of the story or because of the quality of writing, as they were both marvellous, it was more a case of my brain needing to re-train itself to read a certain way; which it did very quickly.

Later on in the book the reason for this is abundantly clear. The author will be gratified to know that I got to a certain point and then found myself thinking ‘oh god there are typos in here, she’s made a mistake’ and then page backwards through the story to see where it had gone wrong.

Of course, it hadn’t gone wrong and that is the beauty of this book. The subtle tricks that are played are quite brilliant; the glass of wine with the neighbour I think was probably the clincher for me, leading me cleverly down the wrong path.

As ever with this type of storyline, I do wonder how many people contact the author to discuss their own situation or to thank her for highlighting the issue. It is very sad that people live in such situations. If you are one of those people, here are some organisations that can help:

http://www.nationaldomesticviolencehelpline.org.uk/

http://www.refuge.org.uk/what-we-do/our-services/helpline/

https://www.gov.uk/report-domestic-abuse

http://www.mensadviceline.org.uk/

http://www.thechange-project.org/

Synopsis: They say every marriage has its secrets. 

But no one sees what happens behind closed doors. 

And sometimes those doors should never be opened… 

Sal and Charlie are married. They love each other. But they aren’t happy. Sal cannot leave, no matter what Charlie does – no matter how much it hurts.