Review – S.N Pearse’s Finding Jane
Months of constant rain and bad weather have lead to a landslip in the shadows of Whitby’s iconic Abbey, unearthing the body of an unknown female in its wake. Who is she? How long has she been there, how and why did she end up there? Detectives Neil Maughan and Suzanne Collins need answers but find only further questions and difficulties as they seek to find the killer. Jane Hammond, reported as a missing person by frantic parents, is a young woman searching for and finding her true self, a person far removed from her strait laced and naive upbringing. Finding Jane examines the ebbs and flows of the murder investigation as it follows Jane’s metamorphosis into a sexually promiscuous woman until fate takes its course.
Pearse’s tale begins with two interchanging situations. The first is the story of Jane, and is set 18-24 months previous: We learn about her life, family and the events that led to her from her University dwelling in Liverpool to Whitby on the North East coast of England. The second is set in the present day and follows the police’s experience following the uncovering of a body, which as the title suggests, turns out to be Jane’s.
Although both stories were of interest to me, it happened that I became far more engrossed in the procedural elements of the novel. There was no glossing of the police force task ahead. Family drama, coupled with long hours, endless leads that go nowhere, and an inability to identify the body showed perfectly the strains that would appear in such an operation.
The story Pearse has created is a very speech-driven one. The conversations are easy-flowing, baring the odd shoehorn to explain a police acronym. The language feels for the most part authentic, though the odd localised pronunciation did occasionally feel a little out of place from characters that up to that point had no localisation patterns to their speech.
If there is one slight drawback to Pearse’s tale, it is that it is somewhat over-detailed, particularly in the early stages. This I’m sure would be down to the fact that Pearse has come from a career in the police force, where attention to detail is a necessity. It did detract slightly, as we were privy to the make and model of Jane’s phone, the actual road numbers for car journeys and even how many steps it took to climb the B&B steps to meet the 43-year-old owner of the establishment. I’m happy to know that someone sits down in pub and football is on. I don’t need to know who is playing who etc. if it doesn’t add to the story.
Luckily Finding Jane from author S.N. Pearse is such a good story this is just a minor bubear. He certainly provides a wonderful insight in modern policing, and the story is a very interesting and fascinating one. Yes it could have been less detailed, and accordingly a little shorter, but I still came out very glad that I got to read Jane’s story.
**** 4 Stars!!!