Book Review: Subject 375 (The Project Trilogy – Part One), By Nikki Owen

Publisher: Mira (Harlequin UK Limited)  |  Publication date: 2nd June 2016

Book One of The Project Trilogy

(Previously published as The Spider in the Corner of the Room)

Project 375 My Review

Subject 375 02.06The voice of a convicted murderer with Asperger’s narrates this story in frantic bursts, which drifts from past to present while she appears to be suffering from the vice-like grip of intense paranoia, or at least some experts have convinced her that this is the cause for her ‘irrational’ fears.

As she is serving her sentence at Goldmouth Prison, this Spanish Doctor, Maria Martinez, experiences moments of pure clarity followed by blankets of confusion and self-doubt. During her imprisonment she has agreed to take part in a specialist programme to study her Asperger’s, which reveals that her interpretation of past events may be impaired.

The tests she is subjected to by the prison service therapists, and their incessant lines of questioning concerning the brutal murder of the priest she was accused of killing, muddies the waters of the facts she once believed in. But facts are the only thing this plastic surgeon with a massive IQ can relate to, that’s how her brilliant mind functions.

Various authority figures move the goal posts frequently, warping her perception of reality and elevating her existing trust issues until she cannot determine who is offering protection, and who is trying to exploit her hidden talents. Just about everyone’s allegiance is questionable, as her life keeps unravelling and they are constantly picking at the strands.

With the extent of the cloak and dagger approach and nods toward MI5, it goes without saying that ‘The Project’ referred to on the front cover is not public knowledge. As a result the plot of Subject 375 is constantly on the move. It took me a while to get a handle on these shifts in time periods and cuts between scenes, but it certainly got the rusty cogs whirring in my brain!

One thing’s for sure, this narrator’s crumbling perception of the truth gel the layers of a conspiracy theory together perfectly – I hadn’t got the foggiest who to trust! Between hints of her compromised safety and the watchers and plotters hiding in plain sight, it was quite ingenious.

The expertise of the author for pulling everything together deserves high praise indeed. Subject 375 is mighty impressive and I’d be very intrigued to read the next instalment in the trilogy, The Killing Files *.

Rating: 4.5/5

* Review to be posted this week!

(I wished for this book on NetGalley a while ago and woo-hoo, it was granted! So HUGE THANKS to the publisher for the surprise approval!) 

Project 375 Book Summary

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

‘Powerful and gripping – an adrenaline-filled thriller you won’t forget’Sunday Times bestseller Kimberley Chambers

What to believe

Who to betray

When to run…

Plastic surgeon Dr Maria Martinez has Asperger’s. Convicted of killing a priest, she is alone, in prison and has no memory of the murder.

DNA evidence places Maria at the scene of the crime, yet she claims she’s innocent. Then she starts to remember…

A strange room. Strange people. Being watched.

As Maria gets closer to the truth she is drawn into a web of international intrigue and must fight not only to clear her name but to remain alive.

As addictive as the Bourne novels, with a protagonist as original as The Bridge’s Saga Norén.

Part one of The Project Trilogy

(Previously published as The Spider in the Corner of the Room)


Project 375 Author Profile

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

Nikki Owen is an award-winning writer and columnist. Previously, Nikki was a marketing consultant and University teaching fellow before turning to writing full time. As part of her degree, she studied at the acclaimed University of Salamanca – the same city where her protagonist of Subject 375 (previously published as The Spider in the Corner of the Room) Dr Maria Martinez, hails from. Part one in the Project trilogy, Subject 375 is Nikki’s debut international novel and will be published in several languages around the world. In 2014, the trilogy was optioned by NBC Universal Television for a one-hour returnable TV series.



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