Book review: The Girl In The Red Coat

It can be hard to make an impact with a first novel, but Kate Hamer’s powerful thriller will certainly cement her name in the literature world.

Kate Hamer

Faber & Faber, €16.99;

ebook, €8.47

The Pembrokeshire-born author’s story switches between the narratives of eight-year-old Carmel and her mother, Beth. From the start, Hamer builds the suspense.

Then, when Carmel is bundled into a car and taken by a man claiming to be her grandfather, the reader is left racing to the end of every page to find out what happens. The fact Carmel’s kidnapping is told through her own innocent and childish eyes makes it all the more chilling.

In a similar manner to John Fowles’ The Collector, ‘Gramps’ as he is only ever known, is gradually revealed to be a complex character who isn’t entirely evil.

Bringing every parent’s worst nightmare to life, the tale is worryingly plausible. The descriptions can be overly wordy, but the themes of fanatical religion, grief and family relationships, make it far more interesting than the average thriller.


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