Sugar for Sugar by Seb Kirby.
This is the first book I have read by Mr Kirby (who I had the pleasure of meeting this weekend) and I have to say it was a pleasant introduction. This was a ARC and so the final polish was still to be given to the edited draft.
I am loathe to give much away because this really is an onion of a book that must be peeled by the reader, but suffice to say that the crux of the story lies in the slow return of the memories and timeline of events for a woman whose recent traumatic experience and the slow remembrance of tragic past losses are inextricably linked to a crime in the present.
A sudden death, presumed to be heart attack has much more sinister origins…
We thus have the death of an odious man, the dogged determination of a slightly jaded pair of Police Detectives who are obviously old hands, old friends and work as a very nicely oiled machine . They are hunting down a mysterious woman who is a conundrum even to herself as she recovers from an amnesia, who was she prey or predator?
Seb Kirby has a very spare style, which means that the story clips along at a fair old pace. There is nothing loose or superfluous here, and whilst his is not the most lyrical style with emotion , sentiment secondary to plot, it means that there is a real clarity to the story and the characters are very clearly defined. We need not see why the act, we just see them just do it!
For such a short book there is of substance packed into this story, devices like encrypted email and the underhanded techniques involved in hostile take overs are both obviously very well researched. The manifestation of the mental black spots of Temporary Global Amnesia feels factual. There is a authenticity to all the procedural elements of the investigation and the gradual unfurling of the truth of the murder is handled with a deft hand.
The resolution of the story has a realism that lifts this book away from others in the genre.
One minor quibble as I am slightly worried that the title and cover imagery are a little incongrous with the story within, but I enjoyed the book very much and will definitely be looking for more in Seb’s catalogue of work.