3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A strong debut novel,
This review is from: What Was Lost (Paperback)
I am in a bit of a dilemma when reviewing this book: there is something I really want to say but I don't want to lessen the shock. I will just ask you to focus a moment on the title and consider what the surprise will be, and that's all I am going to say. The book is published by the brilliant Indie Press Tindal Street, they have had many award winners from their ranks so don't be put off by the fact they don't publish the likes of Dan Brown.
Without giving anything away the book opens in 1984 and follows the story of young Kate as she sets up her own detective agency. Kate spies on other people's lives and her investigations become a release from her own tragedies. O'Flynn captures the child's voice brilliantly. I was hooked by this sympathetic outsider and her strange investigations at the local Green Oak shopping Centre. There is then a huge leap of time and character in the book, a brave move by the writer but one she pulls of with panache. The reader suddenly finds themselves in 2003, the same shopping centre but something is missing...
Most of the second half of the novel follows Kurt and Lisa who both work at Green Oaks. I loved the witty descriptions of the soulless shopping centre and the cattle like shoppers. Anyone who has ever been trapped in a shopping centre on a Saturday afternoon and wished they were rather laid up in bed with a broken leg will instantly recognise the writer's sharp character portraits and bleak scenery. This is a carefully planned whodunit. I was gripped from the opening pages but as soon as Kurt, the security guard at the centre, sees a grainy image on the CCTV my stomach flipped and I was sold. This is O'Flynn's debut novel and I can't wait to read more.... I hope she's a fast writer.
Other debut books to recommend:
The Separate Principle
A Breathless Hush in the Close