4 out of 4 stars
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Words cannot express my heartfelt congratulations to author Rose Edmunds for such an engaging and entertaining novel, Concealment. The book is a mystery thriller that reveals the often conflicting facets of Amy Robinson’s private demons on one hand and her public image on the other. The book is part of the Crazy Amy Series, and is the first of two other books. It has 47 chapters, written in British English and narrated in the first person, through the perspective of the protagonist, Amy Robinson. A partner in a leading law firm in London, Amy suddenly finds herself at the center of a brewing whirlwind concerning one of Pearson Malone’s clients whose case she accepts to take up.
The client, JJ Slate (a slate mining company), is brushing up for a major sale-out to giant corporation Megabuilders, when Isabella, a member of Amy’s team, suspects covert fraud. Then, all of a sudden, Isabella goes missing and later on turns up dead. Ryan too, another member of Amy’s team, voices a similar fraud suspicion to Amy, but before much is established, he is arrested as the prime suspect in Isabella’s murder case, committing suicide a few days later. Several disturbing questions crop up. Who killed Isabella? Why? Does it have anything to do with the suspected fraud in JJ Slate’s books of accounts? Is someone trying to cover up something sinister? Amy sets out to uncover the gory details, only to suddenly realize that she’s swimming in much deeper, choppier waters than anyone had anticipated.
That aside, Amy has a private weakness, perpetrated by secrets from her past life, which threatens to destroy all that she has ever worked to build up in terms of her flourishing career. The only friend she opts to confide in ends up betraying her using the very same information. Her boss seems to derive sinister pleasure in inflicting psychological torture on her, which almost does her in. She realizes that she’s all alone in life, with no-one to turn to. Will she overcome her weakness or will it utterly destroy her career?
I absolutely love how author Edmunds progressively whips up the plot to an excruciatingly mind-blowing climax. Just when you think you have an inkling of who committed the murder or figured out the reason, she throws in yet another staggering twist to the story, bound to keep your eyes glued to the pages. She also masterfully intertwines reality with illusion, which just adds a totally astounding dimension to the story. Initially, I pitied protagonist Amy because of this, but then suddenly I was thrilled to discover that, weird as it may seem, what seems to be working against Amy is actually spurring her onward! That was such a “eureka” moment for me.
Besides a sprinkle of curse words here and there, the language in the book is pretty clean and therefore suited for all readers who enjoy a thrilling murder mystery. The technical financial jargon however was, in my view, a tad overboard for the average reader. Having a background in finance I was able to follow much of the nature of the fraud, how brilliantly it was covered up and how it eventually got exposed, but I suspect it would lose readers who are unfamiliar with finance and audit technical terms. Still, this setback does not detract from this deeply engaging read. The only editorial error I found was a missing full stop at the end of chapter 36 – hardly anything to write home about.
I therefore decorate this review with a perfect 4 out of 4 stars.
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