Review: Hermit by S.R. White

 

Title: Hermit

Author: S.R. White

Published: 25th August 2020, Hachette Australia

Status: Read August 2020 courtesy Hachette Australia

++++++

My Thoughts:

Hermit is a gripping crime fiction debut from ex UK police officer, now Queensland resident, S.R. White.

In the early hours of the morning, Detective Dana Russo is called to the scene of a murder. A suspect is already in custody, having been found standing over the body, but other than offering his name and declining the services of a lawyer, the man, Nathan Whittler, is reluctant to talk. While her team does their due diligence investigating alternate possibilities, Dana has twelve hours to get a statement from Nathan that she hopes will close the case.

Set in rural Australia, most of the action in Hermit takes place within a police interrogation room as Dana carefully coaxes information from a reticent Nathan. It results in a series of tense and unusual exchanges between the two as a tentative rapport develops, despite their nominally adversarial relationship.

Nathan is nothing like Dana expects as he confesses he has not spoken to another person in fifteen years. He has, the police learn, lived alone and off the grid in the surrounding bushland since walking away from his family and job in 1994. Sensitive to the possibility of past trauma, and Nathan’s obvious emotional fragility, Dana must tread lightly as she probes for information that will explain his disappearance, and what role he may have in the murder.

The give and take of the interview is finely crafted by White, and we learn as much about Dana as we do Nathan. When the novel opens, Dana is contemplating suicide, privately reminiscing on the anniversary of a past trauma, and as the interrogation progresses some of the details of that experience are revealed. At times Dana struggles to maintain professional distance, grappling with the reminders of her own tragic childhood, torn between her empathy for Nathan, and her role as his interrogator.

Dana’s colleagues provide some relief from the intensity of the scenes between her and Nathan. I enjoyed the banter with her unit, particularly Administration assistant Lucy and fellow detective Mike, who both obviously like and respect Dana, as does her boss, Bill. As Dana moves in and out of the interview room, they are kept busy investigating both Nathan’s past, as well as the life of the dead man – running down the possibility of his wife’s involvement in the murder, and a suspected connection to organised crime.

With its riveting narrative, and intriguing characters, I found Hermit to be an engrossing read. There are a few minor threads of the story that White leaves unresolved, which is mildly irritating, though I assume, and hope, the author has plans for a sequel.

++++++

Available from Hachette Australia

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Claire Louisa
    Aug 27, 2020 @ 22:11:54

    This sounds like one to add to the wtr list.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. Anne - Books of My Heart
    Aug 28, 2020 @ 03:49:55

    I enjoy this type of book. Will have to see if it is in the US

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  3. Helen Murdoch
    Aug 28, 2020 @ 06:16:01

    What an interesting way to have a story play out, through conversation/interrogation. Reading this makes me realize I haven’t watched a crime drama for a really long time!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  4. Verushka, an editor (@SydneyEditor1)
    Aug 29, 2020 @ 23:06:28

    Oh my, that this takes place in an interrogation room mostly is what intrigues me — this sounds fantastic! I don’t think I know the author either,

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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