Saturday 21 April 2012

Book review : Catch Your Death - Louise Voss & Mark Edwards

When newly-graduated Kate Maddox agrees to be a volunteer at CRU - the Cold Research Unit trying to find a cure for the common cold - she thinks that she risks nothing more than a few sniffles. But she ends up losing her heart, her memory and almost her life when the scientific research unit burns down in a mysterious fire that kills her boyfriend. This was all sixteen years ago and Kate has a new life in America, a son and a soon-to-be-ex husband. Deciding to flee her failing marriage and head back to Britain, she unwittingly finds herself in the middle of a dangerous game of cat and mouse and, as her memory starts coming back, realises that she is a pawn in a terrifying game of global importance.

Catch Your Death was released on Kindle in May last year and was an e-book phenomenon, becoming the first fully-independent British book to hit the number one spot on Amazon, where it stayed for a month, selling tens of thousands of copies and sparking huge media interest. 

The story isn't hugely original (the plot involving a sinister medical research unit reminded me of The Truth About Celia Frost, which I reviewed here) but it is well written, becoming a tense, gripping page-turner that kept me up way past my bedtime when I was glued to the page and wanted to find out how events would unfold. 

The central character, Kate, is multi-faceted - a young mum on the run from an abusive relationship, tentatively embarking on a new love story while still broken-hearted about her long lost teenage love, full of hope but also fear, displaying grit and determination but also vulnerability. Unfortunately I found almost all of the other characters to be purely one dimensional and almost stereotypical - not just the classic Hollywoodian villains but also the sister who likes a glass of wine and is worried about her husband having a fling, the elderly aunt with dementia, the macho American husband ... This did detract a little from the realism of the tale.

I'm always slightly dubious about books written in tandem but the authors Louise Voss & Mark Edwards have created a seamless, unique narrative voice that is well worth investigating if you're a fan of crime or conspiracy fiction.

star rating : 4/5

RRP : £7.99

Disclaimer : I received a free review copy of the book.

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