Monday, 17 February 2020

STILL YOU SLEEP by Kate Vane @K8Vane

4 out of 5 stars

On Amazon UK
On Goodreads

How I discovered this book: it was submitted to Rosie's Book Review Team, of which I am a member.

In A Nutshell: A redundant crime reporter and a news blogger aim to solve the mystery surrounding the suspicious death of a young woman.

I chose this book from the review team list because I'd read another book, Brand New Friend, by this author and was most impressed by her characterisation.  Although this is a crime novel - not my usual choice - it concentrates on those involved in the situation (families, friends), and the journalists looking into it, which is why I enjoyed it much more than I might have done had it been a police procedural.

Vikki Smith is a young woman with a learning disability who is found dead from a drug overdose.  The police write it off as an accident but online journalist Tilda Green and redundant crime reporter Freddie Stone believe foul play to be afoot; Freddie knows the family and Tilda scours social media on a daily basis, discovering much that makes her suspicious.

The story is very 'real life', warts-and-all, and one aspect that I liked is how current it is, both sociologically and in the way in which Tilda delves into every intricacy of social media, though I did wonder if it would go over the heads of people who don't know exactly how Twitter works, on quite a complicated level.  I'm a Twitter addict, though, so I really appreciated how well the author understood its idiosyncrasies.

The characterisation, dialogue and the logistics of the plot deserve a round of applause, though I felt there were one or two many storylines and character points of view.  Social media strategies, dysfunctional families, social prejudice, drug dealers and abuse, alcoholism, two-faced politicians, unrequited love, alt-right versus liberal politics; every scenario is written most convincingly, but I'd sometimes get to the beginning of a new chapter from yet another POV and think, 'Hang on a minute, who's Simon?', and have to look back to remind myself.  The addition of so many plot threads and characters actually dilutes the evidence of her strengths; Ms Vane is a highly competent and readable writer. Less could be so much more, but this is really the only complaint I have about this book.

Still You Sleep flows along so well, wrapping all storylines together at the end, is entertaining, real, so relevant to today's world, and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who appreciates well-drawn characters by a writer who has a sharp understanding of topical issues - or who simply enjoys working out mysteries. 

1 comment: