Sunday, 4 November 2007

I Saw You by Julie Parsons

I Saw You
Julie Parsons
(Macmillan €??)

SPECIALITE de la maison for Julie Parsons is terrified parents, with a side dish of creepy stalkers.

Her fans are used to settling cosily into a story of brutally murdered beauties and their heart-riven, guilt-stricken, and finally vengeful mothers.

This time the ex-students of a nice wee Protestant boarding school in the Wicklow Hills are turning up dead, apparently by suicide. But surely not.

They come from tough stock, the headmaster says. "They are the descendants of empire builders...came to Ireland with Cromwell."

Except for Marina Spencer, who has, he sniffs, "no hinterland" - which is why she was the only kid expelled after a bullying scandal years before.

The author showed bad judgment in starting this thriller with a man chained in a shed in Ballyknockan.

Many of Julie Parsons' fans will probably say what I said: "Oh, wait, I've read this one", and put it back on the shelf without buying it.

She reintroduces some of the characters from 1998's Mary, Mary - inspector Michael McLoughlin, now retired, sets out on a private investigation of Marina's suicide, and Mary's mother from that first book also reappears.

The story is slow to start - much of the first half is taken up with flashbacks to the earlier story and the past of the current one.

But once it finally takes off, it gallops like a hunt through the hills, and readers will whip through the final pages, unable to sleep for dread.

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