Complex characters, mystery and tension
- Book: The Misper
- Location: England, London
- Author: Kate London
The Misper, by Kate London, is the fourth book in a series that started with The Tower (dramatised by ITV), though it works well as a stand-alone read. It follows the fortunes of convict Ryan Kennedy, who killed a Metropolitan Police officer, Detective Inspector Kieran Shaw, while being arrested and is on trial. DI Sarah Collins is determined to convict Kennedy and provide justice for Kieran’s family, including his young son, Connor. Connor’s mother, Lizzie Griffiths, is also serving officer, and she is on desk duties as she struggles with her grief and the challenges of being a single parent.
When fifteen-year-old Leif disappears from a London estate, his mother and little brother are anxious. The police explain they would look for him, but they lack resources and statistically he will probably turn up soon. What they don’t yet know is that Leif has been pressured into doing a little job by his local drugs gang. When what he was carrying is stolen, he finds himself in debt to people he didn’t want to work for in the first place. They have plans for him and make it clear: if he wants to survive – if he wants his family to be safe – he’d better do what they ask. Even if it means risking everything.
Kate London does a fantastic job of creating flawed-yet-believable characters and it says a lot about her skills that even the criminals seem to deserve some compassion. Her writing draws on her experience as a Met Police homicide officer and she also acknowledges the help of other serving officers, making this a truly believable novel. There are fascinating insights into the lives and psyches of the many complex characters that the author has brought to life. Her detailed descriptions of locations are perfectly judged to build up the tension and I felt thoroughly invested in the outcome by the end of the book. The Misper is recommended for anyone who likes thrillers and police procedural books, and anyone interested in human nature, because all life is here.