Friday, 31 October 2014

Searching For Katherine

Searching For Katherine

by Melissa Holden

3 out of 5

Jennifer and Katherine are living the typical post-university life, drinking lots of tea and going clubbing. But when Katherine is kidnapped in a night club, Jennifer’s whole world is turned upside down. 
Could her luck finally have changed for the better when Marcus enters her life, or is it about to get a whole lot worse?

After her best friend goes missing, Jennifer is left to go on with her life.  But no matter what she does, no matter how her family grows, she can never forget that Katherine is missing.

I found this novella very hard to review.  To be honest, I don't think I've reviewed a novella before, and I think that Holden's story was too big for 129 pages.
"Searching For Katherine" starts with the lead up to the night when Katherine disappears; it goes on to the immediate aftermath; and then proceeds to cover several years of Jennifer's life.
The second half covers Katherine finding Jennifer, and how they move on from the nightmare together, plus a few chapters to answer the final questions.
That's a lot to fit into a full-length book, or even in a series.  In novella form it felt more like a review of a good story, rather than the meat of it.

I think the condensed style made some aspects hard to believe.
((spoilers - look away now!))
That the police gave up finding Katherine so quickly; that her family and fiance seemed resigned to the fact that she was dead, and how quickly they lost touch with Jennifer.  How passive Katherine is in her relationship with Marcus; how she managed to finally escape...
I felt that if the book was slowed down and looked at what was actually going on, and gave a bit more background as to why the people have moved on, it would have been easier to connect with.
I also thought that the characters' reactions were... non existent.  You've been held captive by a man that abused you for years and you're finally free - Katherine was as calm and composed as though she'd just been to the shop.

As I said, I would have preferred something longer, taking more time to explore some of the darker moments, and the light.
Or... actually, I kinda wished it had been written in a different format - it focusses so much on Jennifer's life in fast-forward; I would have really liked it to be "One Day"-esque - one day a year, looking into Jennifer's life and where she is, and how she's coping with her missing best friend.

Not a bad piece from a young writer, I will look forward to Holden's future work.

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