Publisher: Legend Press | Publication date: 1st June 2015 | Edition: Kindle (Via Netgalley)
I’d seen this book advertised around the Twittersphere and was over the moon to be approved by the publisher to receive a review copy.
Before It’s Too Late is a moody crime thriller set predominantly in picturesque Stratford Upon Avon. The main line of enquiry surrounds a missing student by the name of Min Li.
Originally from Beijing, she came to England to study, much to the disapproval of her parents with their traditions. Despite culture differences Min Li has settled well into the West. She has a boyfriend, is well liked, and is an all round good student at Stratford University.
Why then would she mysteriously disappear?
As the plot paces along nicely and takes you in all kinds of directions, I say well done to Jane Isaac for teasing us with the truth of this matter!
I do love the way this story is told in two voices. There’s Min Li’s dark, first person accounts where we hear her private thoughts from the desolate place she has woken up to find herself in – finding herself imprisoned in little more than a concrete grave evokes every sense still available to the young woman. Hearing her plight in her own words makes for chilling reading – an already hideous situation can carry an altogether darker shade of bleakness when told by the person experiencing it.
There’s also the third person, factual account from the police team frantically placing the curious pieces of this puzzle together. There’s a perfect balance of characters including: DI Will Jackman, the leading officer in the case, who’s trying not to allow an ongoing personal incident that occurred over a year ago interfere with his work (queue big hugs for Will x). DS Anne Davies is a likeable assistant, having recently become a mum she appears to welcome stakeouts, if only to get some sleep! But the one poking the occasional stick at them is their boss, DCI Reilly – the camera loves him, he loves the limelight, and there’s no love lost between him and his team.
The detached reaction of the parents to their daughter’s disappearance raises more questions than answers; different cultures have their own coping mechanisms, but something just doesn’t sit right with DI Jackman – it’s very well plotted.
The race to find Min draws the team to various locations, only to receive zero co-operation from the community surrounding the investigation. Soon, another student suffers the same fate. The case is not as straightforward as the evidence suggests, although I had a pretty good inkling about the culprit’s identity and would have liked to have been kept guessing for a little while longer!
Jane Isaac has captured Min Li’s isolation to perfection. This, together with its impressive crescendo, makes Before It’s Too Late an altogether compelling read.
(Thank you to Legend Press and Netgalley for providing an advanced copy of this title for review.)
You can follow the author on Twitter: @JaneIsaacAuthor | Publisher: @Legend_Press
To keep up to date with Jane Isaac’s book news, here’s a link to her website: http://www.janeisaac.co.uk/