4 out of 4 stars
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Concealment by Rose Edmunds is a psychological thriller that mesmerises from the first page, as it drags you into the depths of the sordid reality of the outwardly sophisticated glamour of the corporate world. Amy, who is a top executive within a prestigious financial institution, seems to have everything in her life that an ambitious girl could desire. This includes a mansion of a house, a sleek Mercedes sports car, and an exclusive wardrobe.
The main preoccupations of her daily life consist of dealing with a ruthlessly manipulative boss, backstabbing colleagues, and a deranged, eccentric mother living alone amongst the squalor of hoarded belongings littering the house that she occupies. Daily Machiavellian office politics are something that Amy understands and excels at, but her tough exterior conceals a fragile and uncertain inner-self that often seeks refuge in a large gin and tonic drunk alone in the empty space of her glamorous home, whilst the imaginary voice of her younger self, taunts her from the back of her mind.
The carefully maintained equilibrium of her world begins to crumble when a glamorous but junior college disappears and is later discovered, having been brutally murdered. A sense of unreality becomes merged with her own disbelief as she unwittingly unravels webs of deception, greed and acts of brutal violence which implicate colleagues, clients, and even the very person whom she would least expect. Complex layers of deception behind nefarious corporate collusions that begin to unravel, causing herself, as well as the rest of the world, to begin to doubt her sanity.
Threatened by an unforgiving and now hostile world, her life is disintegrating into chaos. Alone and desperate in her crumbling world, she finally listens to the taunting advice and voice of her younger alto-ego, as she prepares for a final confrontation with the ruthless architects of the crimes that she has uncovered. Determined to face them, she remains unaware of the fact that she has unexpected allies concealed in the background of her life, who are only too willing to aid her with her efforts if she will allow them.
Concealment is written in the first person narrative, from the point of view of Amy, but several excerpts that are written in italics, illustrate the perspective of other characters and their interactions within the plot. These serve to contribute to the overall psychological suspense of the novel whilst providing an illuminating exterior perspective into the personality of Amy.
The artificial and ruthlessly competitive world of the corporate environment is depicted with casual descriptions of lavishly furnished offices, magnanimous buildings, and sophisticated motor cars. Behind this exterior facade, one is made acutely aware of the self-centred and materially motivated individuals who will use any methods, however devious, to achieve their ambitions and to satisfy their lust for power.
The desperate plight of Amy, as she battles her own inner demons, whilst also struggling to break free from the shackles of a world that she has so successfully mastered, is compellingly highlighted as the intricacies of the plot are narrated with every blundering effort made by her to uncover and expose the real murderer, together with the associated complex corporate motivations.
The descriptions of the riveting intricacies of devious schemes by executives as well as the self-centred vaulting ambitions of colleagues, together with Amy’s painful progress of personal transformation and her developing realisation that she must break away from this world, is a thrilling story with an outcome kept tantalisingly obscure, until the dramatic conclusion.
There were no spelling errors and only one typo which I noticed. The mildly erotic scene of forced sex is tastefully narrated and is not offensive. Scenes of violence are described without resorting to gruesome details and emphasis is masterfully placed on the psychological facets of the thriller. I have awarded Concealment by Rose Edmunds, a rating of 4 out of 4 stars.
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