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We’ve all heard the old adage that we ‘shouldn’t judge a book by its cover’ and in the case of If I Never See You Again by Irish writer Niamh O’Connor, this couldn’t be more true.
The cover doesn’t do justice to the intelligence and plotting of the novel. It looks amateurish and doesn’t reflect the book’s content at all. If it wasn’t for me getting the book for free as part of the Transworld Crime Caper project, I’d never have picked it up.
And that would have been a real shame.
Jo Birmingham is a recently promoted detective in Dublin, a single mother – her husband (and boss) recently left her for his secretary – she has to fight hard to be taken seriously in her male-dominated workplace. I really liked this character. I empathised with her situation and was rooting for her throughout the novel.
I found the plot a little confusing. Granted, I read this book while going through a fibro flare-up and may not have been as on the button as I’d like to be, but I never quite understood how Jo made the connection between the manner of the victims’ death and the religious element of the story. I felt this could have been exploited more. I also thought that when he was identified, the religious connection to the killer was a little tenuous. Personally, I’d have liked the book to be a little darker in tone – the religious nutter theme lent itself to this and it would have made the story a bit stronger.
My last niggle with the book is the title. I have no idea what the relevance of If I Never See You Again has to the story. Ms. O’Connor might as well have called it ‘Alan’. Or perhaps I’m just being dense about it.
The big question is would I read another of Niamh O’Connor’s books? I have to say, yes. As I said before, I cared about what happened to Jo Birmingham and would gladly spend a few more hours in her company. All in all, a recommended read to crime fiction fans.
You can buy If I Never See You Again from Amazon here