Monday 14 November 2011

Book review : The Colour of Death - Michael Cordy

The strapline on the cover of this book - "The line between life and death is never black or white" - sounded intriguing but pretty standard fodder for crime fiction so I didn't really pay much attention to it when I plucked it off the shelf. It was only when I'd finished reading the book that I realised how clever it actually is, drawing on various aspects of the plot. And that really sums up the book as a whole.

It starts off as a (literally) explosive but not particularly innovative crime thriller - a young woman stumbles on a house owned by white slave trade Russian Mafia dons and frees the women incarcerated in the cellar. She walks away from the crime scene with no major injuries but has total amnesia and terrifying hallucinations. Given the temporary identity of Jane Doe, she is sent to a psychiatric institute where it is discovered that she has synaesthesia, a neurological condition in which the senses become crossed over. For example, you may see letters as colours, hear words as tastes or feel pain if you see somebody else hurt themselves. I found this aspect of the book fascinating and a quick bit of research reveals that it is indeed based on real scientific facts. (See here on Wikipedia for example.)

When Jane - or by her real name - Sorcha's father recognises her and comes to take her home, she finds herself caught up in a crazy world that she slowly starts to remember with horror and terror. In the meantime, she becomes strangely linked to a brutal killing spree back in the city and her ex-psychiatrist - unable to convince the police to believe in what they see to be paranormal mumbo-jumbo - has to try to come up with a way to keep her safe in a one-man rescue mission against all odds.

It's a totally fascinating book, dealing with highly original subject matter that I have never come across anywhere else, and wrapping it up in a finely honed, adrenaline-packed thriller. Right up until the final pages, you're not sure which way things will go and you can only watch with wide-eyed horror as the events unfold and the mysteries are explained. The very end of the book suggests to me that there could be a sequel and I would love to see Sorcha come back in further novels because her synaesthesia would add a whole new level to classic crime fiction.
I received this book as part of the Transworld Reading Challenge that I told you about here.

star rating : 5/5

RRP : £12.99

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1 comment:

  1. I always buy my dad a good book for xmas, and this sounds like something he would like


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