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Title: An Unfamiliar Murder
Author: Jane Isaac
Released: 17th Jan 2012
My Rating: ★★★★★ (5 out of 5)
Arriving home from a routine day at work, Anna Cottrell has no idea that her life is about to change forever. But discovering the stabbed body of a stranger in her flat, then becoming prime suspect in a murder enquiry is only the beginning. Her persistent claims of innocence start to crumble when new evidence links her irrevocably with the victim... Leading her first murder enquiry, DCI Helen Lavery unravels a trail of deception, family secrets and betrayal. When people close to the Cottrell family start to disappear, Lavery is forced into a race against time. Can she catch the killer before he executes his ultimate victim?
Jane Isaac has produced a thoroughly enjoyable piece of writing. It’s safe to say that I will be reading more of her work in the future, as well as more crime novels in general. Isaac managed to keep me reading whilst only revealing bite-sized chunks of information about the crime in question. Saying that, there were several points throughout the novel where I gasped, gawked or was rendered speechless by a chunk of completely unexpected, yet invaluable information. In these instances, any ideas I had about the killer were proved one and I was back to square one.
The characters in the novel are in no way flat or boring. Each one plays several roles, whether it is a dedicated detective or a frazzled mother. Isaac has obviously taken care in creating characters that represent real personalities and that face real issues, both at home and in general. Their emotions were in no way fake or exaggerated; I could empathise easily.
The progression of the investigation seemed natural. I know Isaac would have done a lot of research into it all so I believe it represents a real investigation perfectly. I personally have no idea about the process so I’ll say no more. Facts and evidence were happened upon in realistic circumstances; there were no moments where the team magically discovered something.
Description in this novel certainly wasn't sparse, and whilst I usually dislike detailed descriptions of people and places, Isaac won me over with her effortless style.
Overall, I believe that Isaac has crafted a novel with high standards. I read it in different sittings, which allowed me time to absorb the information, but reading it in one or two sittings if possible shouldn't curb the experience.