The opening scene of Found Near Water is a strong one with the meeting of a group of mothers, all of whom have lost a child but today is different one of the group, Terry has just heard that the person convicted of killing her daughter eight years previously is to be let out of prison. I always find it interesting when an author gets the perspective on the group dynamics (which are similar whether the group is one of a serious nature like this, or a more light-hearted affair like a book group, but that’s another topic entirely) Katherine Hayton drew us into the meeting with aplomb and let us get to know, not only the psychiatrist Christine Emmett who runs the group but some of the other attendees.
The story captures the back-stories of these mothers in excerpts between the main plot that concerns a missing four-year-old girl, a little child who went missing when her mother was in a car accident, a girl no-one knew was missing until her mother, Rena Sutherland came round from the resultant coma. When Rena asks where Chloe is the police realise that they something far bigger to worry about than a random car accident.
This book by the very subject matter doesn’t make for a particularly cheery read although I very much enjoyed the setting in Christchurch New Zealand, not one that is often used in the crime fiction I’m exposed to. The author does manage to lighten the tale at points with Christine whose current role is a Victim Support Officer sparring with DSS Erik Smith who is in charge of the missing child investigation, and I’m pleased to say she often comes off best.
When a psychic makes contact with the distraught Rena Christine is rightly concerned, through her support group she has met enough of these characters over the years and she desperately wants to keep Rena from chasing wild geese! Rena however is determined to try anything and when the psychic gives her a message everything changes not only for Rena but for everyone who is involved in the search for the young child.
The whole premise to this book is good with an inspired reason behind the young girl’s disappearance a good handle on the media attention and enough false leads to keep this reader enthralled, at times however the plot didn’t seem clearly enough defined with the pace slowing quite dramatically or veering off into interesting but ultimately unresolved elements. The first person narrative by Christine makes for riveting reading as we hear about her own loss and the problems that loss has caused all individually good but perhaps too much to let the main story shine through on its own merits. This book has a lot to say and the ending easily lived up to the beginning with action, revelation and conclusion all expertly handled.
I’d like to thank Katherine Hayton who gave me a copy of this book for review purposes. Found Near Water was published on 2 July 2014.