The Dangerous Kind by Deborah O’Connor is a gripping, thrilling and haunting tale of scandal, abuse and murder. Very much a book of its political climate, this novel addresses many issues in society and the way that the people at the top of the food chain behave. It is a bleak reminder that this world is not all as it seems, told from a variety of points of view. The Dangerous Kind by Deborah O’Connor is out on 16th May, 2019 from Bonnier Zaffre.
Trigger warnings: sexual abuse, child abuse
Jessamine works for the BBC hosting a radio show entitled Potentially Dangerous People, which looks at the backgrounds of people who have committed serious offences to see if they could have been prevented from doing so at any point in their lives. When she is approached by a woman who wants her help specifically to locate a friend who has gone missing, the case intrigues her and she starts to undertake some investigative journalism.
Back in 2002, Rowena’s new older boyfriend is leading her down a dark path and into the arms of some very dangerous people, who all happen to be influential members of society at the same time.
In the present day, Sarah, Jessamine’s daughter is receiving messages from a strange older man who wants to meet and ‘be with her’.
Jitesh is a sound engineer intern who has witnessed some dark things recently. As he tries to protect girls from his potentially dangerous friend, he meets Jessamine and assists her in her case.
Why this is an excellent book
O’Connor has honestly created a topical masterpiece here. Just starting to reflect on it, I can see the genius behind all of the intricate links each character has to one another. I love all of the meetings and will definitely re-read it at some point so I can pick out clues and evidence I wouldn’t have done on the first read. This is not only a great mystery, but it is also realistic. Jessamine does not just suddenly discover the truth and tie everything together in a bow; the mystery into the missing woman lasts the whole book, as does Rowena’s backstory and Jitesh and Sarah’s narratives.
I really engaged with all of these characters in some ways. Jessamine is the perfect middle-aged mother playing detective; she is not overly promiscuous or bitter. She loves her daughter, is overprotective, wants to have a bit of fun and has hot flushes. She is optimistic and understands that one wrong move will not end her life. I particularly like that O’Connor ensured mentioning Jessamine’s savings, showing that she is a normal responsible adult, compared with similar characters in crime fiction.
The other characters are an interesting mix; I couldn’t decide how I felt about Jitesh until near the end, but decided that he’s a good person; Rowena tells an incredibly compelling tale, and I want to see her as anything but a victim which is difficult; and Sarah is honestly the weakest character in my opinion. I was a little confused by what she was thinking towards the end of the book, and I felt that I didn’t get enough closure with what she was planning to do.
I wish I could go on forever, but alas I will not bore you. Overall, The Dangerous Kind by Deborah O’Connor is a sensational piece of fiction. I would recommend to people who liked Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan or Need to Know by Karen Cleveland, as well as lovers of crime and mystery fiction, multiple narratives and topical fiction. Thank you Bonnier Zaffre for my proof copy of The Dangerous Kind by Deborah O’Connor in exchange for an honest review.