Thursday, November 13, 2014

Review: Kith and Kill by Thea Hartley

Five Stars

Review of Kith and Kill by Thea Hartley
[I was sent a review copy of this novel]

Resa James, a criminal psychologist and divorced mother of a teenage girl, is brought in for consultation by the police regarding multiple murders that appear to be connected to a local fertility clinic in Cardiff. 

Resa’s life is already complicated by an acquaintance who appears to have a crush on her when she is already on the verge of a relationship with someone new and exciting she’s just met.

The killer in this story is meticulous and cunning.  But what is their motive?  And why are they targeting infertile couples?

Victimology, which is a way of studying the victims’ personal lives [their likes and dislikes etc] appears to be the way forward to catch the killer.   If Resa can discover what the killer has in common with the victims then she might be able to uncover who the serial killer is as they probably move in similar circles.

A poison pen letter out of the blue, puts Resa on her guard as it could threaten both herself and her daughter, Laura.  She is fiercely protective of her home life and there are plenty of people who are suspects in this story, including a husband and wife team who are against forms of IVF.  And what about the person who has a serious crush on Resa?  She’s acting out of character and seemingly dangerous, could she have something to hide?  Also workers at the clinic could any one of those possibly have a motive?  There are lots of characters in this novel who make the reader wonder if they are the killer.

The murdered couples themselves have been secretive about their use of IVF further complicating the issue which makes Resa’s work as a profiler much more difficult to undertake.

This is a great ‘who done it?’ mystery which keeps the reader on the edge of their seat throughout this novel. 

It’s a story that grabs the reader by the throat and doesn’t let them go right from the very first page.   A tale that is interwoven with secrets and intrigue, mystery and emotion.   A first class psychological thriller with a little romance thrown into the mix.

Ms. Hartley has a way of drawing the reader in from the very first paragraph, taking them on a roller coaster of a journey.  This isn’t a tale for the faint heartened, it’s gritty and realistic, a story that wouldn’t be out of place as a television drama.  It could give ‘Cracker’ and ‘Silent Witness’ a run for their money.

The settings take place in South Wales, in and around the Cardiff area, which is a refreshing change to read a crime fiction novel from those areas instead of London or Edinburgh or any other major city in the UK where these stories are often set.  Indeed Cardiff itself becomes a character in its own right in this novel as does the IVF clinic.  Which is part of the art of good writing that draws the reader in and never let’s go.   Thea Hartley is one Welsh crime novelist to watch out for in the future and I’m sure there is lots more intrigue to come from this wonderful writer.

Reviewed by Lynette Rees
Author of Beneath a Sicilian Sun and Watching You

No comments: