The Redeemer by Victoria Goldman – Review.

About The Book

Threatening plaques, vigilante killings, a Jewish community in an English town – what’s the link? The clock is ticking to the next murder.

After witnessing a racist incident in a small Hertfordshire town, journalist Shanna Regan uncovers a series of threatening fake commemorative plaques. Each plaque highlights someone’s misdemeanour rather than a good deed.

Delving deeper, Shanna discovers these plaques are linked to vigilante killings spanning several decades, with ties to the local Jewish community.

As her search for the truth becomes personal, Shanna puts her own life in danger. Can she stop the next murder in time?

The Redeemer is a compelling, thought-provoking murder mystery debut, featuring themes of prejudice, identity and heritage, revenge and redemption, and secrets from the past. 

My Review

This novel is one of the few that I have read twice, initially as an early draft and again when it was published.

The lead character Shanna has recently settled in Hillsbury after working aboard as a journalist. She has taken a job that she is more than capable of, working for a man who is demanding, rude and would be a bully if he was given the chance. You are aware that she had difficulties in the past with threatening phone calls, sleepless nights suffering from guilt and the fact that she was trying to keep her location secret. One of the stories she was researching for a newspaper article concerned blue plaques in the local area. This interested me instantly, if I spot a blue plaque I always want to know more. However I have never seen blue plaques like the ones that Shanna was directed to and I’m not sure I’d have the nerve to investigate the way that she did.

Another side of this novel was more upsetting and at times difficult to read. I can’t imagine what it feels like to have security guards on doors so that those who want to practice religion can do so in safety. All too often you hear and see accounts of anti semitism and the distress and pain it causes is shown clearly in this novel. From teenagers to grown men, all who are guilty in some way of causing suffering. And what is even more upsetting is that Shanna has witnessed it from a very young age. All of it was believable and worrying.

Shanna was independent and stubborn but vulnerable. As I read and found out more about her childhood and the problem in Europe it was easy to see why. I could see a lot of loneliness, as an adult but even more so as a child. I liked her refusal to accept token answers, the way she faced up to bullies and the lengths she went to to understand the reasons for the plaques.

There is huge potential for a follow up to this novel. I’m sure I won’t be the only reader wanting to know what the future holds for Shanna.

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