A sleepy seaside town, in the midst of the rolling English fields and a brutal murder. It sounds like the beginning of any cookie cutter crime novel. However, Charlotte Link’s The Other Child proves to be the exception to the cliché.
When a student is found brutally murdered, investigators are left stumped. Life goes on in Scarborough, until a few months later, after an ill-fated party, another person turns up dead, a copycat crime. Local police struggle to connect the two – with limited evidence, they becoming increasingly frustrated.
As detective Valerie Almond delves deeper into the case, she begins to uncover secrets travelling as far back as World War II, getting herself irretrievably tangled amongst the web. The book flicks back and forth between the past and present, as you piece together the victim’s childhood.
The book doesn’t read quite like a standard crime novel. Charlotte’s style is engaging and the book emphasises the relationships between the characters, while the police investigation finds itself a secondary plot. The crime plot is a little transparent at times, with obvious suspects and clichéd characters, however the very fact that the crime is a secondary plot, means it doesn’t have a great impact on the readability of the book.
The story is by no means fast paced, but the plot progresses with a slow burn, revealing tidbits of information right up until the final conclusion to the perplexing story.
Despite its weaknesses, the book is still engaging. It’s a lazy Sunday morning read, perfect for the fan of chick-lit, looking to branch out into something a little different.
Available now: Hachette RRP$29.99.