When on a late evening scientist Emma finds a young woman dead on the university premises, it looks like a hit and run without any connection to the place. But then, the police find out that she had the ID of another student with her and also wore her clothes. Carline Darcy, first presumed the victim, reacts very harshly to the police showing up at her apartment, but her behaviour makes her even more suspicious, especially since Carline comes from a very rich family owning the institute close to which the body of the still unidentified woman was found. As Cormac Reilly and his team investigate, more and more evidence pops up linking the rich girl to the murder. But also the scientist who found the victim is doubtful – wasn’t she connected to another murder just a couple of months before? And what about the fact that Emma is the leading sergeant’s partner?
Dervla McTiernan’s thriller is a highly complex police investigation that I thoroughly enjoyed to read. It moves at a high pace and on every new page, new evidence appears that leads to another thread that you could follow. To fully understand to extent of the case, it takes some time and you as a reader investigate along the police all the time. The fact that sergeant Reilly himself is personally involved gives it all a bit of an extra that made the whole story even more interesting.
There are two aspects in the novel that I found wonderfully elaborated. First of all, the ways dysfunctional families find their own modus operandi in which they proceed and which can never be penetrated by somebody from outside. It was mainly in a side plot that this a deeply developed, but it was also true for the protagonist’s family, just with a slight shift of interest. The second was the question of how far people are willing to go for success and recognition. These are highly valued in our times and often the main feature to define a person. If you cannot compete, you are nothing. With this attitude, to we dig our own graves in putting people under so much pressure that they cannot see a way out?
Woman – the root of all evil. Therefore, under the new POTUS, women are confined to the house, forbidden to work, thy only have to care for their husbands and children, and most importantly, they aren’t allowed to speak more than one hundred words a day. “Bracelet” is what they call the device which counts their words and sends electronic shocks in case they exceed the set number. Dr. Jean McClelland, once a successful and renowned scientist, sees her life limited in a major way and she regrets all the marches she hasn’t taken part in, the petitions she hasn’t signed and the signs she has misinterpreted. When the president’s brother has an almost fatal accident, the most capable doctor is needed, thus Jean unexpectedly comes into the position of possibly setting conditions and finding a way out of her once beloved home country.
In many respects, this dystopia is highly disturbing. Not just because of what is narrated and imagining what happens there, but because you can easily reckon how such a situation might become a reality. Even though we believe to live in a world where men and women are equal and where women have gained their place in work and society, a group of men feeling deprived of their rights of superiority and therefore doing everything to turn back the time, is simple to picture.
I had heard a lot about Christina Dalcher’s novel and quite often, if too many people praise a book I become increasingly reluctant of agreeing. Yet, in this case, I totally consent to the majority of readers. The plot is very well developed, the characters seem absolutely authentic to me and the author’s style of writing is captivating. I especially appreciated how Jean’s eldest son is brainwashed, not for the fact itself, but as a convincing illustration of how easily people can fall prey to false prophets and walk right in the trap. Dalcher gets to the core with her protagonist, she has to make decisions that nobody wants to make and each reader has to answer for him- or herself which side they would be on and, first and foremost, what they do in reality to prevent such developments from happening.