Melody
Orion | April 2019 | 320 pgs
Source: Library 

MJ Cross has written the Carter Blake series under another name as Mason Cross. While I haven't read that series, this stand-alone has given me an idea how his writing is. And it turns out his style is precise and engaging; and the execution has a "cinematic" vibe to it. 

The book opens with our protagonist, Jenny Bowen, boarding the Caledonian Sleeper back to her old home in Scotland. After finding out her husband's infidelity and following the recent death of her father, she decided that leaving London might give her some peace after all the things she's been through. On the way to her cabin, she encounters a woman who's next to her cabin and even helps to pick up a stuffed animal to a young girl whom she assumes to be the woman's daughter. They didn't talk much and Jenny left for her cabin. 

On her way to the toilet in the dim early morning light, Jenny discovers the woman's door is ajar and on closer look she is shocked to discover the woman is already dead. And that's not all, there's no sign of the little girl and as a standard procedure the cops are called in to make a thorough investigation. DI Gregory Porter has decided to rule it as a drug overdose case after checking the woman's past record and although Sergeant Mike Fletcher has his doubts, he couldn't find any new evidence that pointed otherwise. Despite the police closing the case, Jenny is adamant that something is amiss and goes out her way in pursuing the truth. Eventually she discovers something and approaches Sergeant Fletcher for another investigation. Now Mike and Porter's personality clashes and the latter has no intention of opening the case again but Jenny's account has Mike very curious so he decides to help her with the investigations unofficially. 

As I mentioned, the author's prose has a "cinematic" vibe so I could visualise the events happened in this story as well as the rapport between Jenny and Mike. While I admired Jenny's determination and meticulous demeanour, it was Mike who held my reading interest because he is willing to believe in Jenny, as simple as that. His willingness to help Jenny unofficially has earned him some points in my impression and I rooted for them all the way. As for the plot and the mystery surrounding the dead woman, all I can say is there are layers and layers of intrigue and just when you thought you've some things figured out, another thing arises. I'd more or less figured a rating in mind before finishing the book until one outcome totally astounded me (thus 4 stars - not a fault but purely a personal expectation). Still, it was all a very engaging read and I'll definitely keep a look out for his other books.


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4 Responses
  1. jenclair Says:

    I was hooked at the Caledonian Sleeper! I haven't read anything by MJ Cross, but I'm interested now. :) Oh, and I got your letter!


  2. Lark Says:

    I think I'd like this one! Great review, Melody. :D


  3. Melody Says:

    Jenclair - I find the idea of the Caledonian Sleeper to be very interesting. And I'm glad my letter arrived!


  4. Melody Says:

    Lark - Thanks, Lark! I'll be curious of your thoughts if you do read it. :)