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Friday 13 July 2018

‘The Date’ by Louise Jensen

Published by Sphere,
21 June 2018.
ISBN: 978-0-7515-7419-7 (TPB)

You go out on the modern equivalent of a blind date, to meet someone you think you've formed a connection with, through an exchange of online messages. You wake up next morning, not only bruised, battered and with no memory of anything beyond leaving the house, but also unable to recognise anyone's face, including your own. Your car is damaged, there's a trail of blood, and your best friend is missing. What do you do?

Most people, I can't help thinking, would go straight from A & E to the police, and keep banging the table until something was done. But this is fiction, and Ali Taylor has a history which makes her unwilling to trust them; so, her approach is to set about trying to unpick the mystery herself.

Her efforts aren't helped by the condition called prosopagnosia, or face blindness. As part of the battering, Ali has suffered a head injury which has not only wiped out her memory of the evening in question but also damaged the part of her brain which recognizes the people she knows. All she does know is that someone is out to get her. Incident follows incident: notes, graffiti, pictures on her phone, all with strong hints that she has done something unforgivable.

Louise Jensen's great talent is ramping up the tension. The Date is a page-turner in the best sense; skeletons are hinted at, and you won't want to stop reading till they tumble out of the cupboard. There's plainly something significant about Ali's past, though it's far from clear how, or even if, it connects to her present troubles until well into the narrative. But that's the trick of it; I wanted to know, so I kept reading when I should have been doing other things.

The main characters, including Ali herself, are thirty-somethings who are all damaged by something in their lives: divorce, failed relationships, business issues, the past. Only Iris, sixty-plus and frail, is from a different mould.

It's all set against a well-drawn background of a small coastal town, in a variety of houses which are all distinct from each other. There's also the nightclub where the date takes place; it's the seediest kind, with sticky carpets, a smelly yard out back, and an owner with dodgy CCTV and an eye to the main chance.

If internet dating is your thing, pick up this book at your peril; you may never swipe right again. On the other hand, you'll read a tense, pacy psychological thriller with an unusual theme. The choice is yours.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick

Louise Jensen is a Global No.1 Bestselling author of psychological thrillers The Sister, The Gift & The Surrogate. To date Louise has sold approaching a million books and her novels have been sold for translation to nineteen territories, as well as being featured on the USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestseller’s List. Louise was nominated for the Goodreads Debut Author of 2016 Award. Louise lives with her husband, children, madcap dog and a rather naughty cat in Northamptonshire. She loves to hear from readers and writers and can be found at, where she regularly blogs flash fiction and writing tips.

Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen, and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher for a few years, and is proud to have launched several careers which are now burgeoning. She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with books, about half of them crime fiction.

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