#Review Keeper by Jessica Moor @jessicammoor @VikingBooksUk @MeadOlivia #Keeper

Keeper by Jessica Moor
Viking Books March 19th 2020

He’s been looking in the windows again. Messing with cameras. Leaving notes.
Supposed to be a refuge. But death got inside.

When Katie Straw’s body is pulled from the waters of the local suicide spot, the police decide it’s an open-and-shut case. A standard-issue female suicide.

But the residents of Widringham women’s refuge where Katie worked don’t agree. They say it’s murder.

Will you listen to them?

An addictive literary page-turner about a crime as shocking as it is commonplace, KEEPER will leave you reeling long after the final page is turned.

My Review

‘An addictive literary page turner’ said the blurb and oh how true that was, but that didn’t convey the absolute power that lay within the narrative of Moore’s novel.

It was so much more than a simple literary novel, it’s layers, it’s themes were complex and utterly thought provoking.

Katie Straw, a simple suicide victim or was she, and that was the catalyst for Moore to send her characters on a personal journey of discovery of their lives, their actions. That journey was rooted in domestic abuse but not just the usual physical abuse, Moore examined it all with sensitivity and most importantly balance.

That balance didn’t slate the men who committed the abuse, and I loved how Moore cleverly used the two policeman, at differing ends of their career to highlight the wide spectrum of attitudes. Whitworth, nearing retirement, steeped in old policing methods, bullish in his approach, his social media skills distinctly lacking. You saw his traditional feelings towards his wife, his daughter, the stereotypes he applied to the women in the refuge. Yet you could also sense a subtle shift, as he watched the actions of his younger colleague, the thought that perhaps it was time to step away.

What about the women, again Moore took us away from our preconceptions. She gave us women abused from all walks of life, the 70 year old subjected to years of violence, the wealthy Mum trapped, and then Katie.

A woman at the start of her life, friends, a job, who met a man in a nightclub that changed her life. This was where Moore excelled, as she showed the gradual erosion of her confidence, of her individuality. It was understated, never violent just the little things that slowly added up. You wondered how Katie let it happen, was it the lack of a father in her life, a terminally ill mother that made her crave someone that would ‘look after’ her, take the decision and thought making process away. I found it fascinating and horrifying, Moore’s narrative just wonderful, as she conveyed Katie’s hopelessness, her total and utter despair, her inability to break free.

As Moore alternated her chapters between past and present, Katie’s story unfolded, the literary thriller crept into the edges. The latter parts were shocking and oh my did it take my breath away, at the unexpected surprise conclusion.

Moore had done the impossible, created a fantastic story, with a strong important message. Keeper was chilling, informative and just brilliant.

I would like to thank Viking Books for a copy of Keeper to read and review.

About the author

Jessica Moor studied English at Cambridge before completing a Creative Writing MA at Manchester University. Prior to this she spent a year working in the violence against women and girls sector and this experience inspired her first novel, Keeper.

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