THIS REVIEW IS SPOILER-FREE
The Scribe is the first title in AA Chaudhuri’s Kramer & Carver series – and what a series it promises to be. Massive thanks to Hannah Groves at Endeavour Media for the ARC and for inviting me on the blog tour.
A killer is targeting former students of The Bloomsbury Academy of Law – all female and all butchered according to a pattern corresponding with the legal syllabus.
Lawyer Madeline Kramer, a former classmate of some of the victims, finds her life turned upside down, when she feels compelled to help Chief Inspector Jake Carver track down the killer. Can Maddy unscramble the complex riddles, to save her own life and those of others destined to die?
Anyone who has read my book reviews before, knows that I’m not a fan of wasted words. I’m what you might call an impatient reader. I like a book to cut through the fluff and dive straight into the guts of the plot. I don’t need to know how the rain shimmered and danced on the pavement, as shards of moonlight transformed the tiny jewels of moisture into a sea of silver sparkles. OK, it’s raining. Let’s move on. In this respect, The Scribe and I, are a match made in heaven.
From the first page, it plunges you straight into a murky world which lays the foundation for the rest of the book; characters are introduced rapidly and with no holds barred in their profiles. Then, to my absolute delight, the first significant event happens just 6 pages in and already things are hotting up.
The author’s ability to give you ‘just enough’ is perfect. There’s no teasing, yet no spoon-feeding – the balance is spot on, and for me she grasps the often much-missed opportunity, to let the reader use their imagination. The first murder scene is pitched perfectly, not overly descriptive or gratuitous, but using carefully considered adjectives, designed to make you cringe and recoil in all the right places. Tarantino mastered it with the ‘ear’ scene in Reservoir Dogs. You don’t see a single thing, but the suggestion alone makes it one of the most horrific movie scenes in film history. That’s how it’s done.
In fact, on the subject of movies, one of the first things that struck me as I settled into the flow of this book, was the scene style. The story is fed to us in modestly proportioned chunks which alternate between modern day and flashbacks to the past. The no-nonsense descriptions of the scenes and locations make conjuring up the imagery in your mind almost effortless, so much so, that reading this book actually felt more like watching a police crime drama.
Don’t get me wrong – whilst AA Chaudhuri is clearly not a writer of superfluous words, she is highly skilful in placing crucial detail in the narrative, which, if missed, could completely change your experience of The Scribe. So, don’t be fooled – fast and furious this book may be, but it’s also clever, and your concentration is key.
So, we’re not even on page 100 yet and already we’ve been furnished with 3 major events and a cast of strong characters – and as far as relationships go, I can happily report this is a cliche-free zone.
The cop and his rookie partner could easily have fallen into the tired old “cop hates rookie but later softens and won’t admit it” scenario, but no! From the start, Carver has an obvious fondness for his young partner Drake and does what he can to encourage and nurture his talent. The lack of testosterone in their relationship is completely refreshing.
As for Maddy – her superb brain is a thing of wonder and something to be admired by Carver; as oppose to a ‘tug of egos’ which is so often the case between two sleuths, and would definitely have been the more tedious option.
I’ll admit the killer didn’t come as too much of a shock, but I promise that’s not me being cocky. I had decided who I thought it was quite early on, but like I said, this story is clever, and whilst I was determined to trust my instincts, I was struggling to figure out how my chosen subject could be connected to the gruesome goings-on. I was tussling with my own head, right up until the reveal, and let’s just say, when I eventually learned of what had led the killer to do the things they had done, it left my spine well and truly chilled.
The Scribe packs an almighty right-hook (or a good wallop as my nan would have called it). It slams into you, drags you along at speed, and leaves you reeling. Be prepared to go to bed very, very late every night while you’re reading it – because I guarantee, you won’t want to stop.
About the author:
AA Chaudhuri is a former City lawyer. After devoting her early years to sport as a highly ranked British junior tennis player, she went on to gain a degree in History at University College London, and a commendation in both the Graduate Diploma in Law, and Legal Practice Course at the London College of Law. She turned her back on law in 2008 to concentrate on writing.
In addition to the Kramer & Carver series, she has written four stand-alone novels and has self-published two women’s fiction novels under the name Alexandra Sage. She now lives in Surrey with her family.
The Abduction is second in the series and will be available for Christmas 2019.
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