It’s not often I listen to audiobooks as they’re quite expensive to buy, but now my local library has a great app with audiobooks galore, I plan on taking full advantage. I actually downloaded and started listening to The Killing Files, part way through chapter one, I thought – I’m missing something here, and I was quite right, that was book 2 in The Project trilogy. Back into the library I went, to borrow book 1 – Subject 375 (previously published as ‘The Spider in the Corner of the Room’.)
‘My name is Dr Maria Martinez and I am – was – a Consultant Plastic Surgeon. I am 33 years old. Place of birth: Salamanca, Spain. And I was convicted of the murder of a Catholic priest.’
Maria is in prison. She says she’s innocent and is fighting to clear her name. Because deep down she knows the truth better than anyone. Doesn’t she?
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.
It took me a little while to get used to the narrator’s voice and narrating style, this story is told from Maria’s point of view and I thought it was odd that when the narrator (as Maria) was speaking to someone else she used an accent but when narrating Maria’s thoughts, there was no accent – do we think and speak in different voices? This is probably another reason I don’t listen to audiobooks often, I tend to think the weirdest thoughts, like should there be one person narrating the whole thing or should each character be narrated by a different person?
To the book itself, I really enjoyed the first part of the story, I found Maria to be an intriguing character, with an above average IQ due to having Asperger’s, she struggled to cope with life in prison, especially as being in the prison environment heightened her thoughts, feeling and abilities. Maria claims she’s innocent, when unknown data enters her brain (memories she’s struggling to recall) and the guards and inmates start claiming they’re there to help her/protect her, she becomes all the more determined to figure out what really happened the night the priest died and prove her innocent.
One feature I really enjoyed was Maria’s knowledge of the meaning of names, when she meets someone new, she is able to instantly tell them the origins of their name, a nice touch added in by the author.
Around the middle of the story, my interest was waning and then there was a twist that brought my full attention back to the book. I predicted the twist, as from very early on it was obvious to me where this story was going, but that didn’t bother me as I was waiting for it [the twist] to arrive as I was interested to know where the story would go after the reveal. Unfortunately, it didn’t go anywhere fast enough, the latter half of the book just didn’t grip me, I felt the pace was too slow. Towards the very end, when it came to deciding Maria’s guilt or innocence, my full attention was right back, interested and eager to know the outcome.
I appreciate the authors consistency of the character of Maria, in terms of her personality reflecting her actions, but that alone was not enough to carry the story, and at times I felt the story really dragged, with very little happening. I was in two minds whether to review this one but I decided to as I loved the concept of this story, and the first half was gripping, as was the ending. But the middle, really let this book down for me, I do wonder if I had read the book, would I have liked it more, as the parts of the story I felt were slow, I could have sped-read, whereas the narrator talked at the same pace through-out.
This book is available to buy now from: Amazon UK