Author: Rosie Claverton
Published: Second Edition, April 2018 by Crime Scene Books
Category: Crime, Murder, Mystery, Book Review
A young woman trapped by her fear.
A serial killer on the prowl.
An ex-con hiding from a vengeful gang.
Binary Witness is a crime thriller with a difference. There are two main protagonists. Jason Carr is an ex-con trying to make a new start.
His employment prospects are fairly limited so he accepts a job with a cleaning company, which is how he meets Amy Lane. Amy is an agoraphobic grey-hat hacker at the mercy of fears, anxieties and bouts of depression, whose incredible computer skills brought her to the attention of the Cardiff police. She codes mostly for fun, sometimes for profit and has assisted the police previously. When two female students go missing Amy’s help is solicited again, relying on her help to track the digital footprints of an elusive killer, as well as his victims.
Jason finds himself becoming an unwitting assistant to Amy, doing any outside investigative work as well as keeping up with his housekeeping duties, while Amy continues doing what she does best—collating information online. She’s not the best at looking after herself, eating and cleaning are low on the agenda, so she’s more than happy to let Jason sort out that side of things.
Her hands started flying away again, tap-tap-tap, and it seemed the conversation was over. But Jason was persistent and, if he was going to be here every day, he needed to know a little bit more. ‘I’m Jason, by the way.’
‘Yes, you said.’ She was back in her rhythm now, a frenzied beat that reminded him of the bass at a nightclub or the primal roar of the Hakka. Maybe she was one of those reclusive web designers, churning out websites for big corporations. Though, if that were the case, why was she living in a flat like this? She should be in one of those glassy modern things down in the elegant and expensive Cardiff Bay.
Amy is an intriguing protagonist. What had happened to make her so anxious and afraid? Why was she and her sister abandoned by their parents and why has her sister emigrated to Australia? Lots of questions but no conclusive answers in this, the first book of the series, just hints. Amy and Jason do make an unusual and engaging pairing, and together with their involvement with the police, it’s a scenario that works well in the realms of crime fiction. It makes sense for the police to use all the resources that are available.
Jason’s story is quite realistic in that he paid the price for his transgressions and now he’s trying to make a new start. It’s not easy to regain the trust of his family and the opportunity to fall back into his old ways is always there, especially with his ex partners in crime always around.
I enjoyed the developing friendship between Amy and Jason, particularly the way he handles her agoraphobia and panic attacks, and the fact that neither of them are stereotypical. Their contrasting personalities and Amy’s expertise added interest. The story is told from multiple perspectives. As well as Jason and Amy, we have the points of view of the victims, police and the killer. The plot is fast paced with quite a lot of action and a well developed cast of secondary characters.
About the Author
Rosie Claverton grew up in Devon, daughter to a Sri Lankan father and a Norfolk mother, surrounded by folk mythology and surly sheep. She moved to Cardiff to study Medicine and adopted Wales as her home. Her Cardiff-based crime series The Amy Lane Mysteries debuted in 2014, with the latest novel Hard Return released in October 2018. Between writing and medicine, she advocates for accurate and sensitive portrayals of people with mental health problems in fiction. She is a co-founder of the Welsh crime writing collective Crime Cymru.
Rosie lives with her journalist husband and her nearly new daughter.