Book review: Hermit by SR White

Tuesday, August 25, 2020 Permalink

Hermit by SR White is not at all what I expected. Someone else told me the same thing and I didn’t understand what they meant. Weirdly I was intrigued rather than particularly engaged for much of the book. But then things are revealed towards the end that are shocking. Like… beyond-imaginable shocking.

Some of the revelations come from left field and ultimately help us understand the quiet hermit-like man accused of the crime central to this book. There is, however, also a sense of frustration and injustice that the ending brings. And that’s complicated a little by the fact that White ultimately whets our appetite and leaves us wanting more.

Book review: Hermit by SR WhiteHermit
by S.R. White
Published by Hachette Australia
on 25/08/2020
Source: Hachette Australia
Genres: Thriller / Suspense, Psychological Thriller
ISBN: 9781472268440
Pages: 375

After a puzzling death in the wild bushlands of Australia, detective Dana Russo has just hours to interrogate the prime suspect - a silent, inscrutable man found at the scene of the crime, who disappeared without trace 15 years earlier.

But where has he been? Why won't he talk? And exactly how dangerous is he? Without conclusive evidence to prove his guilt, Dana faces a desperate race against time to persuade him to speak. But as each interview spirals with fevered intensity, Dana must reckon with her own traumatic past to reveal the shocking truth . . .

The ‘revelation’ I mention above is shocking. It’s unexpected and there’s no foreshadowing at all. It could almost be left out. I realise however, it’s there to give us context. And Dana tells us that. She likes Nathan Whittler and if he’s going to be guilty of murder she needs an understandable reason for it.

The murder of a grocery store owner is the central mystery of this novel. His life isn’t without complications. He’s in debt. His wife’s unhappy. Someone is stealing from his store on a regular basis. So there are lots of options on offer for the police investigating his murder. It’s clearly unplanned as a knife was grabbed from a shelf and used in the murder. Nathan was found with the body. Bloodied.

Of course of interest is the fact that Nathan’s been ‘absent’ for 15 years. Where and why is of interest to Dana. He claims it’s not relevant but seems to change his mind partway through and decide it is – hence the big reveal.

When this book opens however it’s Dana who’s the mystery. We’re told today is THE ‘day’. The one day each year she allows herself to be overwhelmed by her depression, sense of hopelessness and contemplate suicide. Her work as a police officer means she obviously knows what’s involved – how to tie up loose ends, not harm anyone else or leave too many unasked questions.

The ‘Day’ is often mentioned throughout this novel and I suspect I was expecting something a little more climactic than we got. Initially I was disappointed…

However… the next day I went back to re-read the end of the book and realised I missed something. Something that will certainly have me going back for more if it’s on offer.

Hermit by SR White was published in Australia by Hachette and now available.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.


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