Author – Emma Kavanagh
Published – 2014
Genre – Crime fiction
This is an interesting debut by an author who knows something of the ins and outs of those involved in major incidents, having worked as a psychologist with the police. This isn’t a run-of-the-mill police procedural, however, but follows four people in the aftermath of a plane crash.
The first of these, and for me she felt like the main character, is Cecelia. An air hostess on the doomed plane, she is a wife and mother but is in the process of walking out on that life. The other female character is Freya, who has to cope with the grief of losing her father and in doing so she begins to find out more about him and her parent’s relationship.
There are also two male characters. Tom is Cecelia’s husband and a policeman – he has to deal with the aftermath of the crash, the breakdown of the relationship with his wife and a murder investigation. Finally there is Jim, a retired police officer who believes that something dreadful has happened to his daughter.
I was quite caught up in the opening scenes of the story, when the disaster is unfolding (I wouldn’t recommend reading this on a plane) and was intrigued with the introduction to the characters and wondering how they would fit together (as surely they must). Although covering a relatively short period – just a couple of weeks – things then move quite slowly. I would have preferred less time given over to the individual narrative of each of the characters – far too much introspection for me. This provided the opportunity to provide backstory for the characters, but its effect was to slow down the story.
I would be curious to know if my perception of the split between the four characters is borne out by the proportion of pages in which they feature, but this certainly felt for me that it was more Cecelia’s story than anyone else’s. This was unfortunate for me as I didn’t really take to her character. She is someone who has a secret in her past which is eating away at her and destroying the relationships she has tried to build. What she really needed was therapy! I found her frustrating and would have preferred that more time had been given to the police investigation.
It will be interesting to see the direction Kavanagh takes with her future novels. Many thanks to the publisher for my review copy. You can see a different point of view on Rebecca Bradley’s blog.