A Means Of Escape

Published: 2011
Author: Joanna Price


A gripping thriller with an engaging new heroine

There’s always something a little bit thrilling about reading a book or watching a film where you recognise the setting, it makes you more positive about the experience before you even get started.  I was very excited when a film was released set on the street I grew up on – Red Road – and I had that same flutter when I started Joanna Price’s A Means of Escape which takes place in Glastonbury, not far from where my husband was brought up.  My in-laws still live nearby.

The body of a young woman has been found on Glastonbury Tor, arranged in a manner which suggests  a ritualistic killing.  When news comes through of the deaths of two more young women in similar situations D.S. Kate Linton is sure that a serial killer is at work.  The abduction of another woman and the disappearance of a reality TV star increases the pressure on Kate and her colleagues to find the killer before a further tragedy occurs.

Price clearly knows Glastonbury and the surrounding areas very well.  The entire book is infused with the sights, sounds and attitudes of the area.  Particularly well drawn is the small town claustrophobia where everyone knows everyone else and it is impossible to escape the mistakes of your past.  Glastonbury is a haven for oddballs and this is reflected well in A Means Of Escape, which includes its fair share of the community’s more colourful residents.  If I’m honest I like the Glastonbury created in the novel more than I like the real place.  Price does a great job of keeping the more extreme elements of the town in check while presenting an accurate portrayal of the area.

The story is well-paced and kept me on tenterhooks throughout.  Several times I convinced myself that I knew who the killer was and each time something happened to change my mind.  There were some great twists which held my attention without going over the top.  I only worked out one strand of the story which I found fairly obvious, but as this was part of a sub-plot it didn’t spoil anything for me.

D.S. Kate Linton is a fantastic new character.  Not as hard-bitten as some fictional female police officers, she is the kind of girl that most of us know and are friends with.  Any character who can struggle on with the kind of killer hangover that Kate experiences is fine by me – trust me, I know the feeling!  Kate’s family background offers exciting potential for future character development and I’m sure readers will empathise with the dysfunctional dynamics of the Lintons.  I wasn’t entirely convinced by the relationship between Linton and her superior/potential love interest.  Something didn’t quite gel for me (particularly in the dialogue) but I still would like to see how things develop.

This is a taut, gripping psychological thriller with some witty moments.  Kate Linton is an engaging new heroine and I look forward to the next installment of her story – and hopefully the bumping off of some more of Glastonbury’s eccentric residents!

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  1. Sounds like one I’d enjoy. I love when settings are so integral to the story. And Kate sounds like a good character, not overdone.

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