Thursday 29 September 2016

Thriller: Penance by Kate O'Riordan

Constable, €18.99

Patrick Kelleher

Published 09/05/2016 | 02:30

Thriller: Penance by Kate O'Riordan
Thriller: Penance by Kate O'Riordan

Few novels launch into action in the way that Kate O'Riordan's latest offering, Penance, does. The first chapter is shocking and horrifying, filled with anguish, pain and confusion.

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It doesn't let up very much from there. A terrifying novel about the nature of grief, sexual obsession and stalking, it will leave you thoroughly unsettled.

Penance follows Rosalie and her family after the loss of their son Rob, who drowned on a trip to Thailand.

Each character has their own way of dealing with grief, most notably Maddie, Rob's surviving sister, who gets caught up with a gang.

Things start to look up with the arrival into their lives of Jed, a young man they meet at grief counselling.

It's not long, however, before things start to take a sinister turn.

O'Riordan is unrelenting in her attempts to unsettle the reader: each chapter provides another hint towards something more insidious and frightening.

At the heart of the novel is the endearing protagonist, Rosalie. O'Riordan deals with grief excellently here, alternating between the Rosalie that once was - carefree and loving - to the Rosalie of the present, who has been shaken to the core by the terrible events that have happened within her family. A fast-paced, gripping read with surprising levels of humanity and depth, it will get under your skin a bit too much for comfort.

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