Witness X by SE Moorhead was published in paperback by Trapeze on 6 February 2020, my thanks to the author who sent my copy for review.
I was absolutely and totally gripped by this story, from the intriguing and inviting prologue, right through to the very last page. It’s unlike anything that I’ve read before; it’s fresh and exciting and so well paced.
Set in the year 2035, this certainly has a feel of ‘The Minority Report’ about it, for me that’s an added bonus as it’s one of my favourite films. I am fascinated by the speed of technology, how things that we could never have imagined as children are now part of our everyday lives. Things get faster and faster, and more experimental, and not always for the good.
Kyra Sullivan is a neuropsychologist and is currently working on a new and very powerful piece of technology. Her invention can access the memories of other people, and Kyra is determined that this will be used for the good. She intends it to be used in the criminal justice system, allowing police investigators to access the memories of witnesses to crime. There’s a long way to go though, getting this technology approved by the courts will not be easy, and there’s one other fly in the ointment … Kyra’s business partner. He’s determined to make money from this, and is in negotiations to allow the MOD to have control of it, to use to prevent terrorism.
Fourteen years ago Kyra worked alongside the police on the investigation, capture and conviction of a serial killer. David Lomax was imprisoned, but he’s escaped and Kyra can’t believe it. The case is very personal to her and her family. When a body is found that matches exactly how Lomax killed, it is clear that he’s back on a killing spree, and everyone knows that there will be another body found soon; that’s what he did; two murders, every February.
Or, is it Lomax? He’s claimed his innocence since the day he was arrested, and there are signs that indicate that maybe, just maybe, he wasn’t guilty, or did he have an accomplice?
This is an extraordinary thriller. The advances in modern technology are wonderfully created and inserted into the story so well that the reader can almost believe that they really do exist. The little things like the targeted marketing as someone walks past an advertising board; the devices instead of a mobile phone .. things that we almost have, but not quite. There’s certainly a nod to Alexa in there.
SE Moorhead has created a dark and often disturbing thriller, there are scenes of violence and there are also scenes of tenderness as the reader gets to know Kyra as a person and not just as an investigator. She’s an intelligent and driven character who is determined to seek justice for the women who were killed years ago, and to prevent any more needless deaths. Kyra puts herself in danger many times, and the tension increases as the plot progresses.
The insertion of thoughts direct from the mind of the murderer is genius and adds a sense of menace that creates such a depth to the story.
Gritty, dark, unusual and completely gripping. I was totally absorbed by this story and really look forward to more from this talented author.