Katie Straw's body is found at a popular local spot for suicide. The pathologist's report states that the cause of death was drowning. There are no unusual marks on her body, just old burns and self-inflicted scars. DS Whitworth decides to rule it as suicide as there is no better theory than that.
The story is narrated between two timelines. The account of Katie's life before her death begins since she meets Jamie at a bar. In parallel with the story of Katie's life is the investigation of Katie's death. Whitworth and his colleague Brooke pays a visit to Katie's workplace. Valerie, who manages the women refuge, believes Katie is murdered and shows some of the several threatening messages that she received from different social networks to the police.
Katie is continuously having doubts about her relationship with Jamie but willing to give it a try. Jamie begins to show the other side of him, reserved but more controlling in her life. Katie tries to avoid doing anything that will upset Jamie, including meeting her friends that he doesn't like.
Several women that are living at the women refuge recall their time with Katie before her death. Most of the women remember how supportive Katie to them throughout their stay at the shelter. Katie Straw is not her real name, and the police can't trace her real background. No one knows the reason why Katie is dead. Did she really commit suicide, or is she murdered by someone? Why she has to change her identity, and who is she hiding from?
I think it's a great idea to have two detectives from two different generations with contrasting views about domestic violence. Brooke, the young detective, represents the current generation's views about the modern world. Meanwhile, Whitworth is the old detective who has seen various walks of people in his career life. He is still trying to understand the thinking of the current generation and the world of social media, which are still new to him. Despite the dissimilar opinions, both detectives never agrees with violence against women.
I understand that the author wants to share the various types of abuse faced by different women living in the refuge, but there are too many characters that the author is trying to fit into the book. Angie is one of the residents in the shelter, and her background is expanded in detail almost towards the ending of the book. With so many characters with their abusive stories respectively, I had forgotten Angie's existence and wondering why a new character is being added at such a late stage. The time frames can be confusing due to the continuous switching between the present and before Katie's death. At the same time, it was overwhelmed with the number of characters and their individual stories.
I'm still feeling disoriented with the ending due to my confusion about the multiple stories across two timelines. I'm not a fan of the vague ending and still thinking about how Katie dies. Someone witnesses the critical moment before Katie dies, but she is a drug addict. The way she explains what she sees makes me wonder whether she is intoxicated at that time. Before Katie's death, she believes the man that she sees is Jamie, but he treats her as if he never meets her before. So, is that person really Jamie, or it's just Katie's imagination? But at the same time, the man that Katie believes is Jamie appears to be jumpy when discussing about Katie's note. I don't know if I'm over-analytical, but the more I'm dissecting the details, the twist ending doesn't seem to fit with the story. It feels like a deliberate twist to convey a message which has already delivered throughout the story. However, I feel it's still a good read until the ending challenges an over-analytical person like me.
ISBN: 9780241986394 (ebook)
Number of Pages: 308
Rating: ★★★★ (4/5)
More reviews can be found on Goodreads: The Keeper by Jessica Moor.