Published in paperback on 24th September 2015 by Scribe Publications
A riveting psychological thriller. Kurt Cobain stands at the top of the stairs, wearing the brown sweater. ‘Please don’t leave me,’ she yells up at him. But it’s too late; he’s turning away as the tram slows for the stop out on the street. Then she’s lying on the road. Car tyres are going past, slowly. Somebody is screaming. A siren howls. Sweet voices of little children are singing ‘Morningtown Ride’. Is Brigitte a loving wife and mother, or a cold-blooded killer? Nobody knows why she was in the east of the city so early on the morning she was left for dead by a hit-and-run driver. It was the Friday before Christmas 1994 – the same day police discovered the body of a man beaten to death in her apartment. Fourteen years later, Brigitte is married to the detective who investigated the murder, which she claims to have lost her memory of in the car accident. They have young twins, and seem to be a happy family. Until the reopening of the cold case. Please Don’t Leave Me Here is about loss, love and lies. It is about pain, fear, and memory. And, above all, it is about letting go.
Welcome to Day Four of the Please Don’t Leave Me Here Blog Tour and a taste of Australian crime. I am delighted to present my review.
This is the début crime novel from Tania Chandler. Set in Melbourne, Australia, it is the mystery of a woman. Who is Brigitte?
This is a story in two parts. We meet Brigitte in 2008. Brigitte is a woman with a missing memory, following a car accident. A man was found dead in her apartment. Did she kill him? Who was he? In 2008, she is a mother, with a writing career. She finds the police taking a special interest in her again, when the cold case is reopened. The story jumps in part two to the past. We follow young teenage Brigitte in 1994 and see for ourselves the truth.
Brigitte is a strange one. It is really hard in the first part of the book to make sense of her. She is complex and lost. And her dreams are just bizarre. She is damaged. But damaged by what or whom? We can’t trust what she does or what she says. The classic unreliable narrator, who makes us want to know more.
It all does start to make more sense, when we see her background and see what kind of life she had. The younger Brigitte at nineteen is much more easy to relate to and grow fond of. She works as a stripper and seems to attract trouble. Slowly the mystery is solved, as the past unfolds.
In some ways, this is a traditional mystery. The mystery of Brigitte. And the story’s strength is that it is not clear which way it will go. I was intrigued by this woman and her many layers. Her relationships with the men in her life were equally fascinating. I felt sorry for her. Life certainly knocks her about a bit. Brigitte is a survivor.
As a first novel, it is impressive and it covers a lot of ground. There is a superb 1990s mood in the second half, created by song references. Although I never listened to that style of music back then, I loved it. From abusive relationships to pain killer addiction, there is much to get your teeth into. There is a realistic vibe coming from Brigitte herself, even when she is at her most odd. There are many Brigittes out there in the world.
Definitely one to look out for if you enjoy a good psychological mystery, with a strong lead in Brigitte. Recommended.
Purchase information: Please Don’t Leave Me Here on Amazon
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