- Shaun Baines
The Death of Jessica Ripley by Andrew Barrett
Sometimes you can’t forgive and forget.
Jessica Ripley didn’t kill her ex-husband. But everyone thinks she did. After serving twelve years for his murder, it’s time to get her own back on those who put her inside.
During those twelve years, Jessy’s son, Michael, has turned against her. Whatever mercy Jessy had for her intended victims, has gone.
CSI Eddie Collins is having a hard time watching his father enjoying life. He’s also having it tough in the form of two new recruits to his office. One is off his tree on drugs and the other wants his job.
And then the murders begin.
Can Eddie trust the evidence, or is someone out to get even?
A gritty crime thriller full of surprises and depth.
This is a great book marked out by the excellent character development; something more readily associated with literary fiction. When Jessica is released from prison, she is a victim of circumstance. Her vulnerability is painful to witness and the reader naturally gravitates to her.
Eddie is the forensic officer plagued by a series of gruesome murders. He is embittered, angry and antagonistic toward his colleagues. In short, he is unlikable and I worried about spending time in his company.
Both characters are tested and develop by overcoming obstacles in their path. It's what creative writing lecturers have been telling us from day one, but rarely is it achieved so well as in The Death of Jessica Ripley. Eddie and Jessica swap places. Suddenly we are on Eddie's side while Jessica becomes the villain. It's a subtle progression and brilliantly done.
On a similar theme, there are scenes of violence where individuals are effectively destroyed followed by scenes of forensic analysis where their lives are reconstructed. The whole narrative has a satisfying circular feel to it.
The plot is gripping and tragic. We expect the killer to be caught, but it is never clear how it will happen. It drives the reader on while also questioning if catching this particular killer is the true measure of justice.
I can recommend The Death of Jessica Ripley by Andrew Barrett. It is available from Amazon here. Should you enjoy it, please leave a review. It will make the author giddy with excitement.