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Before Her Eyes

Night by Night by Jack Jordan

Rose Shaw’s life is on a downward spiral. Haunted by events from her past, unwanted by her family and plagued by insomnia, her life is going nowhere. After colliding with a stranger one dark evening, she finds a journal written by newspaper editor, Finn Matthews. When her eye catches the sentence, ‘If you’re reading this, I‘m dead.’, she immediately becomes obsessed with trying to trace the missing man. Why did Finn think that someone wanted to kill him and why are the police reluctant to investigate? Refusing to give up on her search, Rose is soon putting her own life and the lives of her loved ones in danger…

From the very beginning of the book, I had nothing but sympathy for Rose. Suffering from debilitating insomnia, the people around her seemed unable to offer her reassurance and, instead, seemed intent on making life difficult for her. When a particularly heart-wrenching incident occurs, her life goes from bad to worse. With nothing else left for her, I could understand why she became so obsessed with the hunt for Finn and as the story progressed, we could see why the search became so personal to her.

There are several sensitive issues in Night by Night, namely police corruption and institutionalised homophobia. With the latest series of BBC’s Line of Duty coming to a close, police corruption is a very topical issue and after reading this book, one that leaves a nasty taste in your mouth. As it is revealed that Finn is not the only missing person and that there appears to be no investigations into their disappearance, it poses the question, just who can you trust if you can’t trust the police? This is something that Rose comes to learn and soon, she feels that she can’t put her faith in anyone for fear of retribution.

I ended the story with as much compassion for Rose as I had at the start, even if her circumstances were now completely different. Leading up to this, as the plot culminated in a thrilling showdown, I found I could not put the book down and raced through the final chapters, desperate to know how it would all end.

This is my second Jack Jordan book (after reading Before Her Eyes) and it will definitely not be my last!

With thanks to Corvus and Readers First.

Before Her Eyes by Jack Jordan

41100476After discovering the body of a young woman, Naomi Hannah fears for her own life when she realises that the killer is still there, watching her. Knowing that she could provide valuable information to help them apprehend the assailant, the police quickly step in to interview her, only to be bitterly disappointed when they meet her; Naomi has been blind since birth. With her life already seemingly in tatters, Naomi’s life soon starts to spiral out of control when a connection is made to an unsolved case from twenty years ago – a case that is still fresh in the minds of the people of Balkerne Heights. Just who is responsible and why have they let Naomi live?

From the very start of the book, my heart went out to Naomi. Abandoned at birth by her drug addict mother, separated from her husband due to their differing opinions on starting a family and trapped in a sightless world, she feels as though suicide is her only way out. I couldn’t even imagine the terror she must have felt when finding the body and then being dismissed by the police due to her disability. After experiencing several other horrifying encounters, Naomi’s world begins to get smaller and soon, the option of suicide starts creeping back into her mind. By having his protagonist as a blind woman, Jack Jordan has created a claustrophobic, tense thriller where nowhere, even her own home, is safe.

With the exception of Detective Marcus Campbell, the police in Balkerne Heights are a particularly unsavoury bunch. Secrets dating back to the disappearance of a local girl twenty years ago are beginning to rear their ugly head and Marcus wonders just how much was covered up. I admired Marcus’s tenacity even in the face of some quite overt bullying in the workplace.

Although I could understand why Naomi wanted to retain her independence by staying at her own home, I was desperate for her to cut her losses and move back in with her adopted mum. Every time there was a knock on the door, I was yelling at her to not answer it – either that or have an intercom fitted so she at least knew who was calling! Despite my frustration with her, I had lots of respect for the amount of courage she displayed throughout each of her setbacks.

I had my own theories as to who the killer was, theories that continually changed as I was reading. This definitely kept me on my toes and made me desperate to find out how it would end. I did enjoy the sting in the tail – a well-written ending. This is my first Jack Jordan book but it won’t be the last.

With thanks to Atlantic Books and Readers First for my copy.

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