Monday, November 28, 2016
Review: The Girl With No Past by Kathryn Croft
Reviewed by Michelle Peckham.
(Read more of Michelle's reviews for Euro Crime here.)
Leah lives sparely, in a small flat and works in the local library. She volunteers in a care home once a week, but still has too much time to fill. So, she has started talking to someone on a dating website called Julian. She clearly is trying to forget a traumatic event in her past, something perhaps she is ashamed of. Possibly something that may be to do with the short description of a car accident in the first chapter. Something nothing her work colleagues know about. And then she receives a ‘Happy Anniversary’ card. Someone somewhere knows who she is and what she’s done. Her past is catching up with her.
Slowly as the book progresses, her carefully constructed life starts to disintegrate. As well as the card, she starts to receive disturbing emails from someone called ‘reapwhatyousow’. Her colleagues at work start to mistrust her and become less friendly, but she can’t work out why. She starts to mistrust Julian, the man she met via the dating website. Could he be behind this? And it seems she only has one friend left, Ben, who appears to believe her story. Interspersed chapters go back to her teenage years, shortly after her family had moved to Derby and she started at a new school. We gradually find out who she makes new friends with, including her best friend Imogen, Corey, and Adam, a troubled lad who intensely dislikes their teacher, Miss Hollis.
This book has all the elements of a good page turner, with a slow build up of tension, a main character is someone to whom the reader is sympathetic. But there is enough doubt laid that at the same time we wonder what she really did and if she really does deserve some kind of punishment for something that happened in the past. Leah certainly seems to carry a heavy guilt about something. The slow destruction of a safe and reasonable life is believable, and there is a tense climax at the end, where she finally finds out who is behind the disintegration of her carefully constructed life. I enjoyed this book and look forward to the next one!
Michelle Peckham, November 2016