Past Life by Dominic Nolan
Waking up beside the dead girl, she couldn’t remember anything.
Who she was. Who had taken her. How to escape.
Detective Abigail Boone has been missing for four days when she is finally found, confused and broken. Suffering retrograde amnesia, she is a stranger to her despairing husband and bewildered son.
Hopelessly lost in her own life, with no leads on her abduction, Boone’s only instinct is to revisit the case she was investigating when she vanished: the baffling disappearance of a young woman, Sarah Still.
Defying her family and the police, Boone obsessively follows a deadly trail to the darkest edges of human cruelty. But even if she finds Sarah, will Boone ever be the same again?
This novel has a gripping synopsis, a detective found with amnesia and a stranger to her own family. A pain that pushes her to search for the truth and justice.
I was 100% SOLD, straight from that.
The novel has a dark opening, with a woman awakening not knowing her own name. There is a nearby body of a late teen female, clearly dead. The scene is intense and dark, set the pace for the novel perfectly. The woman is in a locked room, with no handle on the inside of the door. The woman can here the voices of others nearby including another female.
‘Noises of fear. Noises of pain’
I was on tender hooks as I read her inner thoughts……
‘Deep breaths now – resist the urge to call out’
Eventually the female is able to escape, urging another captive to RUN!
‘She didn’t remember anything about anything’
As I said above, a tense, action-packed and emotionally charged opening scene.
Abigail Boone has since moved house, attempting a chance at a new start/life. She is still struggling with chronic pain in her leg. Her family, husband Jack and teen son Quin find her difficult to relate to as her habit have changed. Abigail Boone feels alone in the world. Her recovery is fully explored and we learn of the medical and psychological impact of what Abigail has sustained.
‘The doctors said short-term memory lass wasn’t that uncommon after major trauma, so confusion was to be expected. The heavy dose of benzodiazepines found in her system wouldn’t help either’
She has no memory of who she is but can understand the world, as such! Imagine surviving a trauma only to lose who you are and the ability to bring the perpetrators to justice?
‘Four days she had been missing. One hundred and two hours’
Abigail was found in a London flat, set alight there is no DNA/evidence and no ID on the dead body. The other female victim is Bulgarian, she is uncooperative due to her trauma and the investigation leads to a dead end.
‘Life was habits and systems and Boone had to learn them all anew’
The debut novel reminded me very much of Tim Weaver’s excellent missing series. As Boone, as she now likes to be called digs into a cold case in an attempt to expose her own memories. Her clinical psychologist husband Jack also urges her on in her search to find Sarah, a previous abduction case Boone had worked on.
Working Sarah’s case also leads Boone to Rumena Zlatkova (Roo) the Bulgarian captive held with Boone. Roo re-tells her experience of trafficking to Boone and we become aware of the horrors that these women endure.
‘Men like that rely on two things. Fear firstly. And secondly, the fact these girls have no voice. Nobody cares what they say’
Boone is a relentless force to be reckoned with, she makes an incredible protagonist and the ending completely blew me away, I felt bereft….
‘Masks don’t just hide identity – they hide a person’s humanity. Hiding that gives them the power, makes their victims feel powerless’
An AMAZING debut novel 5*