The Red Room, by Nicci French

Kit Quinn is a professional psychologist, alternating time between working at a clinic treating middle-class neuroses and helping the police to investigate crimes. One of the cases she's asked to help in turns nasty when she's attacked by the suspect in the interrogation room: the attack leaves her physically and mentally scarred. But soon after this she becomes involved in another set of murders: the police "like" the guy who attacked Kit, but Kit is not so sure.

I imagine that the Rachel Nikell/Colin Stagg case had some influence on the inspiration for this story: there are a mother being murdered while out with her toddler child, an "obvious" suspect, and a dubious reliance on the theories of a "Cracker" style criminal pyschologist. Or maybe that's just a co-incidence, but it felt a little bit tasteless all the same.

The story was readable as usual, but not fantastically tense: Kit appears to be in some danger throughout the story but it's not the same sort of thing as Killing Me Softly or Beneath The Skin, where you know who the baddie is - the reader knows as much as Kit.

The "red room" of the title is the name Kit gives to the place in her mind that contains all the things she fears. I didn't think this theme was made use of as much as I'd expected - it felt a little bit half-hearted to me.

Ok I suppose.

Completed : 15-Jan-2009

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