OR: The Midnight Side

A review that originally appeared in The Third Alternative #25:-


Nastasha Mostert

Hodder & Stoughton hb, 263pp, £16.99

Isa is woken in the middle of the night by a garbled phone call from her cousin Alette, but then in the morning she is notified by a lawyer that Alette died two days ago. Alette’s sole heir, Isa flies to London from her home in South Africa to sort out her cousin’s affairs, but then she becomes ensnared in Alette’s posthumous plan to destroy genetics entrepreneur Justin Temple, her ex-husband and the man Alette held responsible for ruining her life. But unbeknown to Isa, Alette’s death was no accident and now she has placed her own life in danger.

This is a murder mystery with paranormal trimmings, though in themselves these add little to the story other than novelty value. The plot develops at a credible pace, if a little too predictably; the red herrings could never be mistaken for a fish of any other colour. The characterisation is handled well, particularly the relationship between the two cousins, with the emotionally dependent Isa vulnerable to the more self-assured Alette’s manipulation. The author has obviously done her research in matters psychic, financial and genetic, so that those elements ring true. Yet for all of that the book is a little flat, a competent piece of writing rather than something that grabs hold of the imagination and won’t let go. To be damned with faint praise rather than applauded with both hands.

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