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Monday 13 August 2018

‘Her Name Was Rose’ by Claire Allan

Published by Avon,
28 June 2018.
ISBN-13: 978-0-00-827505-1 (PB)

Emily’s life is far from ideal.  She has a boring job that doesn’t stretch her, a family that thinks she is slightly mad, which she might well be, and only one friend who is over the water in the USA.  She is also trying, and failing, to control her worries that a former and abusive boyfriend is about to attack her at any moment.  Seeing a young mother killed by a speeding car right in front of her eyes does little for Emily’s precarious mental state.

Then, curiosity gets the better of Emily and she begins to read all the tributes to the woman who died.  Trawling through social media soon fills in the background to the dead woman’s life.  The woman was called Rose and she had been universally loved and adored.  She was thirty-four, worked as a receptionist in a local dental practice and was married to a famous local author, Cian Grahame. Rose also had a very young son called Jack whom she’d been pushing in his buggy when she’d been hit.

When Emily is made redundant she decides that maybe she could fill some of the gaps left by Rose.  She started by applying for Rose’s job at the dental surgery. Once working there, she met Rose’s husband, Cian, when he brought Jack in to register him with the practice.  Needless to say, Emily strikes up a relationship with Cian.  Has she jumped into danger?

By now rumors are circulating that Rose’s death wasn’t an accident.  A young lad is arrested and admits that he killed Rose.  Before he comes to trial he, too, dies under suspicious circumstances.  Emily is fortunate that DS David Bradley who investigates both killings has a soft spot for her and kindly does his best to keep her on the straight and narrow when she is persuaded to lie to the police. 

Her Name Was Rose is set in Londonderry, a place where, rather like the ending of this story, things are rarely as straightforward as they might seem.  Claire Allan has produced an amazingly powerful psychological thriller. Some of her characters have suffered so much that it almost hurts just reading about them: you wish you could intervene to stop them repeating their earlier mistakes.   Wonderful writing.
Reviewer: Angela Crowther.

Claire Allan was born in Londonderry in 1976. She attended the University of Ulster, Jordanstown for her undergraduate degree in Humanities. before moving to the Belfast Campus of the University of Ulster to study for her Masters Degree in Newspaper Journalism. She wrote her undergraduate dissertation on the ethics of genetic screening and her Masters’ thesis on the portrayal of women in the UK media.  A former journalist and columnist Claire and has been writing fiction since 2006.  An Irish Times bestseller, she has tackled issues from post-natal depression, infertility, and dementia through to writing a based-on-a-true-story book about a couple reunited after 50 years apart. Claire still lives in Derry and in 2016 took the leap to become a full-time writer, leaving behind her journalism career. She also decided to branch out to write psychological thrillers and unleash her dark side! Claire is married with two children, two cats and a mad puppy she is happiest lost in a good book.

Angela Crowther is a retired scientist.  She has published many scientific papers but, as yet, no crime fiction.  In her spare time Angela belongs to a Handbell Ringing group, goes country dancing and enjoys listening to music, particularly the operas of Verdi and Wagner.

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