Review: Susan Wilkins – The Informant

wilkins_informant_uk_with_quote.pngThis book had been sitting on my shelf for a while. It’s a slight departure from my usual reading but the plot sounded fun. What prompted me to pick it up was that the author, Susan Wilkins, was appearing on the debut crime writers’ panel that I was moderating at Newcastle Noir. It’s a shame that I left it so long to read the book. The Informant is a pacy read with a charismatic protagonist and I found myself racing through the story.

Kaz Phelps has just been released from prison after serving time for a crime that her little brother, Joey, committed. She wants to distance herself from her Essex based criminal family and pursue her talent for drawing that she discovered while she was inside. However, she finds herself pursued by her past and in particular her violent brother won’t let her escape her familial responsibilities. She is also wrestling with a passion for her lawyer Helen who is trying to keep her on the straight and narrow while ensuring her own career isn’t damaged.

One of the first things that you notice about The Informant is the unusual narrative style. The point of view changes from paragraph to paragraph which is a departure from many other crime novels. There was an interesting discussion on this at Iceland Noir. Readers are more sophisticated than many publishers give them credit for and the switch in viewpoints in no way hindered my enjoyment of the book. The characters are well developed and, in particular, the sexual frisson between Kaz and her lawyer, Helen, was lacking the sentimentality you sometimes get in crime novels. It was very well portrayed.

It’s a difficult book to categorise as it’s part police procedural and part psychological thriller. If you like either of these genres then you’ll certainly enjoy this.

Thanks to Pan Macmillan for my review copy.

14 thoughts on “Review: Susan Wilkins – The Informant

  1. Margot Kinberg

    This sounds really interesting, Sarah. And the premise sounds intriguing! Interesting point you make about POV, too. I think you’re right that readers are more sophisticated than publishers think; and that goes for other aspects of writing style (and plot, for the matter of that) as well.


  2. Ooh love the sound of this… my to-read list is heaving, but on it goes! I’m intrigued as to the multiple viewpoints – normally I can get on board with them, but I recently read a novel which utilised that technique (they were all first person, which might have been the problem) and it kept tossing me out, so I’m wary!


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