Author: Kate Medina
Publication Date: 24th March 2016
Source: Review Copy
‘The girl knows,’ he whispered…
Four-year-old Sami is deeply traumatised, and it’s up to psychologist Dr Jessie Flynn to unlock his terrifying memories. She needs to find out who ‘the girl’ is – but nothing can prepare her for the truth about what haunts him.
Meanwhile, Jessie’s former patient, Captain Ben Callan, is investigating the suspicious death of an officer in Afghanistan – the problem is the only suspect refuses to talk.
When a dead body washes up on a Sussex beach, Jessie and Ben’s cases converge. Soon it’s clear that the mystery in Afghanistan began with a secret much closer to home. And a desperate killer will do anything to keep it buried…
Fire Damage is the first novel in what I hope will be a long-running series featuring psychologist Dr. Jessie Flynn. I first became interested in psychology when I picked up a Jonathan Kellerman novel and became obsessed with the Alex Delaware series, and it eventually led to me studying it first at A Level and then at university. That element of the story here is brilliantly done, at times it was reminiscent of the very brilliant Kate Rhodes and her Alice Quentin series. Kate Medina is knowledgeable in what she's talking about, has clearly researched her subjects well and has written a story that drew real emotion from me, and left a real impact once I'd finished reading.
The book has a rather haunting opening and we learn that Jessie is treating four-year-old Sami who is deeply traumatised. Jessie must attempt to unlock Sami's terrifying memories and find out who the girl is that he keeps referring to. It's a complicated mystery to unravel, even more so because the patient is so young. The book can be difficult reading in places, but it is compelling the whole way through and very believable. Captain Ben Callan is investigating the suspicious death of an officer in Afghanistan and when a dead body washes up on a Sussex beach, Jessie and Ben's cases converge and it becomes clear that the mystery in Afghanistan began with a secret much closer to home. And a desperate killer will do anything to keep it buried...
It is hard to find fault with Fire Damage, characterisation is perhaps one of its strong points, especially Jessie Flynn and throughout the story the reader is given just a glimpse of the skeletons in her closet and what made her the person she is today, and why she became a psychologist. She's a fascinating character and I can't wait to read more about her. In terms of the story I do love a good mystery, and that's exactly what we get here and Kate really keeps the tension and intrigue up throughout the story, and the last third of the story was the real highlight for me and showcased Kate's ability to keep the reader glued to her words because I had to finish the book before I could go to bed. And then I wanted more, hopefully book two isn't too far away.