Review by Charlotte_Shi -- Concealment by Rose Edmunds

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Latest Review: Concealment by Rose Edmunds

Review by Charlotte_Shi -- Concealment by Rose Edmunds

Post by Charlotte_Shi »

[Following is a volunteer review of "Concealment" by Rose Edmunds.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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‘How had I ended up in this mess in the space of four weeks? How much of it was my fault? What was real and what was imaginary?’ Amy is troubled, and her questions are at the heart of Concealment by Rose Edmunds. This ‘Crazy Amy Series starter’ revolves around Amy’s anxiety, betrayal and corporate fraud. Everything seems to be off-balance.

Amy is successful and well established in her career. She works as head of the Entrepreneurs Tax Advisory Group for Pearson Malone. Smithies is her new boss, but that's no problem. Amy doesn’t fear change. She has succeeded through sheer hard work and confidence. Still, it seems that Smithies can see right through Amy. Being boastful and ‘crafty’, he knows how to ‘press Amy’s insecurity buttons’. His manipulative behaviour causes her unrest. As difficult as this situation sounds, it is only the start of the dramas for Pearson Malone employees. A colleague is missing, and Amy soon finds herself involved in a murder case. Being in a tight corner, she goes into action. Is she able to cope well under pressure? Who could hold the key to solving the riddle of her colleague’s death?

Concealment is an intriguing mystery novel, but it is also a detailed character study. Narrated in the first person by Amy, this fast-paced story takes us on a journey filled with psychological drama. We witness the events through Amy’s eyes, and this type of narrative somehow increases our awareness of her struggles and loneliness. I was amazed by her arduous journey, and I liked her self-awareness. Amy is focused on her ‘bravura performance’, but she is also very aware of other’s emotions (for example, she reads the information from her colleague’s face: ‘Her smile was convincing, if you didn’t catch the melancholy in her eyes.’). I found it easy to immerse myself in the book’s dense narrative, and I certainly sympathised with Amy and her situation.

What I found astonishing is the complexity of Amy’s character. She is very vulnerable once you get to know her. Keeping this ‘big secret’ is holding her back, but it gives her a sense of control. Amy is mortified to even think about confiding her secret and emotions. She does her best to ‘look normal’ instead, as she hides behind her ‘fancy clothes and bubbly personality’. Amy’s thoughts, fears and feelings are consistent with her actions. I enjoyed her pointed comments and innermost thoughts as I detected a faint touch of sarcasm. Also, I found many of her comments to be very amusing.

However, Amy becomes doubtful of her judgment (‘what was real and what was not?’). In addition to having doubts about her sanity, this ‘uber-professional’ woman becomes suspicious of everybody. At the same time, she offers some valid deductive arguments that are hard to deny. I couldn't help but wonder about her rationality, and ‘Little Amy’ didn’t help. As it turns out, Amy’s intelligence, pluck and decisiveness are her main attributes. Yes, it is shrewd Amy who eventually identifies fraud and somehow handles with ‘the ultimate betrayal’. Is it not?

Her colleagues and business contacts present a wide range of human behaviour. Not all of those supporting characters are well-rounded, but they move the story along with contrasting moral viewpoints. In addition to excellent narrative and characters, the author brings the corporate world to life with realistic dialogues and detailed information. We learn a lot about this accountancy firm and the complex interactions among its employees. We witness greediness, false friendships and unscrupulousness. Also, Amy’s secret and Smithies’ favourite motto (‘perception is reality’) call attention to the importance of perception and beliefs for they influence the way people behave and interpret various situations and feelings. While Smithies believes that ‘when several independent people have the same impression, it’s liable to be correct’, Amy comes to the following conclusion: ‘If perception was a reality, then everything was real, which was palpably false.’ Perhaps, after all, it is only a matter of perception (‘Egg-zackly!’).

I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. I noticed a few errors which didn’t distract my attention from the book’s fast-paced narrative. Compelling and suspenseful, this is a story whose believable characters and unexpected twists will bring great joy to voracious readers of mystery novels. Also, if you enjoy psychological fiction, chances are you will enjoy Concealment by Rose Edmunds due to Amy’s well-rounded character and emotional complexity, and the characters’ realistic experiences.

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