Published:16 February 2023 (Previously published as The Interview in March 2022)
Author: Gill Perdue
Published by: Penguin
Genre: Crime Thriller
Length: 384 pages
Reading dates: 16-20 February 2023
A girl covered in blood. Her missing stepfather. Two detectives racing against time.
Laura is her team’s top interviewer, an expert at finding the ‘in’ with victims that helps crack the case.
Niamh is her straight-talking partner who is noticing cracks in her mentor’s careful facade.
Jenny is the 14-year-old assault victim found bloody and confused on a suburban street. They need answers, and fast. But Jenny seems terrified to tell them the truth.
And as the pair try to reach her, Laura begins to lose herself in memories of her own shattering trauma, leading to a mistake that could have fatal consequences . . .
In If I Tell we hear from 3 characters. 14 year old Jenny is being held in a psychiatric unit after being found alone, very cold and covered in blood. Her mum and younger brother are in a critical condition in hospital after a car crash and her step-father Stuart is missing. The narrative is disconcerting – Jenny’s thoughts jump around a lot and it isn’t until later in the book that her jumbled thoughts start to make sense and we get an understanding of what has happened to her.
Laura is the lead detective, specialising in interviewing distressed witnesses but she is off her game. She has a young daughter whom she loves dearly and a husband Matt who she seems constantly irritated by and together they juggle the care of their daughter around demanding jobs. Laura constantly has dark thoughts about what might happen to her daughter when she is not there. Will she knocked down, drown or be kidnapped? She is also reliving the anniversary of her mother’s death and has just found out a friend has died. She is on the edge and her colleague and mentee Niamh is worried for her.
While Laura does the interview with Jenny in the correct way, Niamh’s approach is more casual and between the two of them they gradually start to understand what happened to Jenny. Niamh is a good friend to Laura, covering for her mistakes at work and taking her for a night out to try and get to the bottom of what is going on.
What I liked about this book is that Jenny’s thoughts become clearer as the book progresses and it is almost as if the interview techniques make her thoughts less jumbled. It takes place over a relatively short space of time and the police are in a race to find out what happened to Jenny’s step-father. It is a difficult read in places because of the themes covered but I was as desperate as Laura and Niamh to find out what had happened to Jenny. I was thrilled to find out that a second book is due out featuring Laura and Niamh as I felt there was more to hear from these characters. When They See Me is due out 1 June 2023.
There are some dark themes in this book including rape, domestic abuse and child abuse so if these themes that disturb you then this book is not for you.
With thanks to Lou from Penguin for inviting me on the blog tour and sending me a finished copy of the book. Please check out what other reviewers are saying below:
About the author
Gill Perdue is the author of The Interview, the first in the Laura Shaw series of Crime novels published by Penguin, set in the fictional Dublin suburb of Clonchapel. She also writes for children. Her first children’s novel, Adam’s Starling, won a Bisto Award (the Eilís Dillon Memorial) for that year.
A primary school teacher by training, Gill worked for many years in Tallaght and other schools in south Dublin, and this experience informed and inspired her earliest writings, as did her work on a children’s helpline. A lifelong love of dance and music saw her train separately as a dance teacher, and for many years Gill has been teaching Ballet and Modern in a busy school in Rathfarnham.
She is drawn to the exploration of the domestic, behind the façade presented by adults and even very young children, reflecting the real experiences of living in a world where the best and worst of what it means to be human exist side by side.
Gill lives in Rathfarnham with Kevin and Angus (one of these is a dog). Their two grown-up daughters currently live in London but keeping their places warm are a pair of disdainful cats.
Excellent review, Claire. This sounds like an emotional as well as gripping story.
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Thank you so much Carla! It certainly is!
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