The Girl In The Red Coat Review

imageTHE GIRL IN THE RED COAT BY KATE HAMER
STARS:image
Many thanks to the publisher and Soph for sending me this copy.

Kate Hamer’s stand-out debut thriller is the hugely moving story of an abduction that will keep you guessing until the very last page. Carmel has always been different. Carmel’s mother, Beth, newly single, worries about her daughter’s strangeness, especially as she is trying to rebuild a life for the two of them on her own. When she takes eight year-old Carmel to a local children’s festival, her worst fear is realised: Carmel disappears. Unable to accept the possibility that her daughter might be gone for good, Beth embarks on a mission to find her. Meanwhile, Carmel begins an extraordinary and terrifying journey of her own, with a man who believes she is a saviour.

It is difficult to say too much about the story without spoiling it. Not that this is necessarily a book with twists and turns, but I think the story is better left to unfold naturally. Her disappearance isn’t a mystery to be solved, but it has a different and unusual direction. This book shows the strong bond between mother and daughter and the unconditional love , but it’s also a psychological thriller, so tense that it’s hard to put down.

Initial thoughts:
1. The story is told from both mother and daughter perspectives; Carmel describes her present when her mother speaks in past tense. At the first three chapter, I was a little confused but as I kept reading, I found it very refreshing and I really enjoyed this style of writing. I loved Carmel’s thoughts and the way she sees world from her young eyes.
2. When I finished it, I was left satisfied with the end, but the more I thought about it the more I thought of questions that are posed throughout the novel, yet are mostly left unanswered: who has Mercy and what happened to her? What’s that strangle power? Who is ‘Gramps’ really? For me, the end was really satisfying but at the same time I wished to know some details.
3. The little girl’s descriptions are amazing and I was hooked from the beginning. The first five chapters, when the disappearance happens, are so tense and I literally couldn’t breathe.

It’s a brilliant debut, compelling story, written so beautifully. Β It’s one of those books that you’re desperate to know the ending, but at the same time you don’t want it to end. I couldn’t put it down, I had to know the girl’s fate…

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