“Who is Alice Salmon?
Student. Journalist. Daughter.
Lover of late nights, hater of deadlines.
That girl who drowned last year.
Gone doesn’t mean forgotten.
Everyone’s life leaves a trace behind.
But it’s never the whole story.”
I picked this book up a while ago on a Waterstones’ recommendation but didn’t get around to reading it. Yesterday I decided to have a crime thriller day since the weather was dreadful, and I pretty much devoured it in one sitting!
The premise of this novel is that following the unfortunate death of a former student under dubious circumstances, a university lecturer decides to piece together as much information as he can about her life and death, and to publish it as a way of keeping a part of her alive.
The story is told as a collection of letters, newspaper articles, texts, tweets and blog posts; these are not in a chronological order, so the reader is constantly trying to fit the pieces together and figure out how it relates to the information that was previously known.
Similarly to Disclaimer, the main protagonist Professor Jeremy Cook is quite unlikeable. Occasionally you feel a bit of sympathy for him, but overall he is a pompous, hypocritical, downright dirty old man.
The reader gets to know Alice through the diary entries she has kept since she was a teenager, and it is clear that she struggles with depression and anxiety whilst showing the outside world a completely different facade.
The significance of the relationship between Alice and Professor Cook isn’t really revealed until the end of the book; you are also constantly kept guessing as to the circumstances of Alice’s death – was she murdered or did she kill herself?
There are a number of worthy suspects, but I honestly didn’t see the “twist” until the final revelation.
If you like crime/psychological thrillers add this to your reading list – you won’t regret it!