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Cordy, Michael - 'The Colour of Death'
Trade Paperback: 384 pages (Aug. 2011) Publisher: Bantam ISBN: 0593060679

The novel starts with an event in which an eleven-year-old boy survives a horrific incident in which he witnesses the death of his mother, father and sister. He cannot remember any details and does not understand how he could have survived.

We next meet him as an adult. Nathan Fox is now a trained and gifted forensic psychiatrist, who has been assigned the case of Jane Doe. A young woman who has broken down the door of a house in Portland, Oregon and rescued several women held as captives in cells in the basement, and who receives a head injury in the escape. This leads the police to a ring of sex-traffickers and the bodies of two women buried in the garden. Jane Doe cannot remember anything, least of all how she came to be in the house and how she knew the women were in the cages in the basement. She has hallucinations where she sees the bodies of people who have suffered violent and painful deaths and Nathan finds out that some of the deaths she has "seen" really happened. At the same time a serious of horrific murders start. Nathan is called upon by the police to help and is horrified to find the victims have the face of Jane Doe stapled to the faces. The is obviously a connection between Jane Doe and the killer but is it all in the killer's mind or is Jane Doe connected to the killer?

Then Jane Doe's father appears to claim her. He is the leader of a cult - the Indigo Family - a group of people who live a quiet rural life well away from the modern world. Despite Nathan's concerns, she leaves to go back home.

COLOUR OF DEATH is an interesting book, not least because it concerns the subject of synaesthesia. I had heard of this before in connection with people who "see" music as colours and been curious about it, so was keen to read a book where people with these senses are centre stage. More than this though, the book is about the power that charismatic people have over others and the danger that the cults, that can be built up around such individuals, hold to the members and to the wider public.

I felt engaged with the principle characters and was interested in their story. I even found the nature of cults, their leaders and members fascinating even though quite worrying. A good read.

Susan White, England
January 2012

Details of the author's other books with links to reviews can be found on the Books page.
More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 29/01/2012 11:58