Oh Lord, I’m a little bit shell-shocked after finishing Witness X by SE Moorhead, I had to catch my breath before writing this review!
Before I share my thoughts, here’s what the official blurb says:
SOME CRIMES CAN’T BE SOLVED IN ONE LIFETIME.
THE PAST. Fourteen years ago, the police caught a notorious serial killer who abducted two victims during the month of February. He was safe behind bars. Wasn’t he?
THE PRESENT. But when another body is discovered, the race is on to catch the real killer before he abducts his second victim. Neuropsychologist Kyra Sullivan fights to use a new technology that accesses the minds of the witnesses.
THE FUTURE. Will Kyra discover the person behind the murders, and if so, at what cost? And how far will she go to ensure justice is served?
This is the story of how Kyra tries to save a past she cannot change and a future she cannot allow. A genre-bending thriller for readers who enjoy books by Clare North, Stephen King and John Marrs.
So I started reading Witness X with a sense of trepidation, set in the future and dubbed as BladeRunner meets Silence of the Lambs meant I was taking a step into a genre that isn’t my usual choice. But two things made me pick up this book, firstly getting to know the author via social media, she is a warm, funny and engaging woman who seems like the kind of person I’d love to go for a drink with (so there’s a marketing lesson in its self, use social media to connect on a human level, get to know potential readers by engaging with them and don’t only use it to sell your books) and secondly, the Silence of the Lambs element was my hook. And so I found myself standing with one foot in the camp of each genre, psych thriller and sci-fi and not quite sure how I was going to react.
Fast forward two days the book is complete and my brain is trying desperately to come up with words for a review that will do this book justice! I’m gobsmacked that this is a debut novel. Characters, setting, pacing and place are all written almost flawlessly.
We first meet neuropsychologist, Kyra Sullivan in 2035 and that opening, well, fair to say it kind of blew my mind! Virtual realities, memory transference and a world that actually doesn’t seem that far removed from a future reality! Some seriously scary thoughts were being triggered inside my brain as memory and brain hacking were being considered in the hunt for a vicious serial killer, in a case that is very personal to Kyra.
I connected with Kyra immediately, she is a determined and focused character with a strong moral code and a passion for justice and ethics. She’s a complex character, well developed by the author. Throughout the book, I felt I was on the journey alongside Kyra, stepping inside her head along with the memories she was absorbing was a dark place to be, but boy what a ride! Have you ever wondered what it might be like to be inside the mind of a killer, well pick up this book for a pretty good idea of what it might feel like! It elicited all sorts of emotions for me, fear, empathy, revulsion and pity to name but a few!
Each of the main characters, Kyra, Tom and Jimmy earned a place in my heart and I can only hope that Witness X is the first in a series. All well written and developed characters who gel together and step out of the page and into your heart.
If you’re put off by the Sci-Fi references then please trust me when I say, this is totally relatable and not some weird and unbelievable futuristic world, it is more of a world where technology has made some fascinating advances, arguably not all for the good. The author has created this world in such a way it felt real, I’m half expecting to see virtual newspops and ads jump out at me when I’m next out and about. It is very much a mix of potential futuristic technology mixed with some good old fashioned policing with the complexity of relationships underlying the whole book.
My heart was firmly rooted in my mouth all the way through, some real intense pacing provided a dark and twisted real with a very real malevolent undercurrent running all the way through. Cleverly plotted and providing lots of food for thought, it burrowed its way inside of my brain!
I most definitely had all the feels for Witness X and I’m so glad I took the chance in reading it. This is a definite must read for me! You won’t be disappointed!