“Friends, Romans, countrymen…” will often try to sell you a book, or rather, I mean, persuade you to try an author they like that you’ve not heard of. In this case the former and latter on that list fit the bill – he’s English and exiled to Scotland and well read in crime fiction, but not Roman, oh no! Anyway, I succumbed to my learned friend’s persuasion and the book in question is “The Greenway”, the début novel from Jane Adams.
I had to buy the book second hand as it’s been out since 1995. But I was assured it was the best place to start in reading the novels of Jane Adams. And a lovely hard copy it was too!
First things first – the cover proclaimed “A haunting début” from none other than Minette Walters. That is as good as you get, when it comes to my taste in psychologically and earthly based novels. Secondly, the novel edged onto page 204, something unheard of these days; but I didn’t feel cut short, not at all, I was looking forward to a shorter read at the time. Thirdly, this was one novel in a little gamut of three that I read in quick succession that were all based in or near East Anglia, just before I headed out for a short break in Suffolk. (Luckily, I was based mere paces from the sea and not in land, so the dark atmosphere of the three books did not prompt nightmares.)
So, “The Greenway”, what’s it all about? In a nutshell:
Cassie Maltham returns to Norfolk for a holiday along with her husband and two friends, and with an underlying objective. Twenty years ago, and very close to the location, she had been a victim of a crime. Cassie had out playing with her twelve year old cousin Suzie, taking a short cut through The Greenway, but Suzie disappeared that day, never to be found. A cloud of uncertainty and suspicion has circled around Cassie since that day, as she couldn’t remember anything to help the investigation. And now, on the holiday to finally face the demons of her past, and with the help of her husband, another child goes missing and in the same place.
A retired detective, John Tynan remembers the original case and offers his help to the detective on the current case, Mike Croft. The only link to the two cases is Cassie Maltham, but is she capable of allowing her memories to break out?
As a shorter novel, this is a linear plot where suspense is the order of the day. What lies within the closed recesses of Cassie’s mind? And will it come to the fore in time? Will it even be useful to the current investigation?
I found “The Greenway” to be atmospheric and as “haunting” as the blurb from Minette Walters. It’s also a page turner. Short and sharp, it kept me guessing until the end. That’s so good a comment from me, as so many books don’t manage the “keep guessing” element anymore.
And now I want to read more from this author; “The Bird” being next on the list.
Jane Adams later ventured into a series with a blind ex-copper and that’s something that catches my eye right now. And what I intend to move onto next, after “The Bird”.
Jane Adams may not have a big publicised presence in the crime fiction world but she does have a portfolio of novels that’s worth looking at. She also has another novel coming out soon, or just delivered to the publisher, as I understand. I’ll let you know, when I get the reliable information.
Jane Adams – go try it, buying second hand, as I did. And keep a look out for the newbies in her portfolio, but I’ll let you know anyway. She definitely needs more publicity.
As for the exiled friend/reviewer – he did “good”, yet again. I just wish he liked my recommendations as much as I like his!
(Currently reading “A Grave Talent” by Laurie R King, again, on HIS recommendation. Not that I’m complaining; I just want to get back to reading it, you understand… So bye for now…)