The Spider in the Corner of the Room
The Project Trilogy
by Nikki Owen
Harlequin (UK) Limited
Pub: 4 June 2015-06-05
The protagonist in Nikki Owen’s debut novel is a bit different . Dr Maria Martinez is an incredibly bright Spanish plastic surgeon working in Britain. She suffers from a form of Asperger’s Syndrome (an autism spectrum disorder (ASD)), and as we meet her at the start of the novel has just been convicted of murdering a Catholic priest.
The book then plays out by presenting the reader with two intertwining narratives one seemingly in the now – where Maria is in therapy, and one in the past where she is in Prison. Before you know it MI5, ‘The Project’, Edward Snowdon and Prism and the potential future of 21st century warfare are all swimming in the sea of Maria’s confused mind of reality and fantasy and as one thread starts to unravel the other Maria starts to think that maybe she didn’t actually kill anybody and maybe she has been made the fallguy in a complex conspiracy. But why?
That’s pretty much it in a nutshell.
There are some nice ideas here. The use of Aspergers to inject a strong element of unreliable narrator into proceedings is a nice touch, and makes Maria both an interesting and slightly annoying protagonist. The problem for me was that I failed to really engage with the novel. A plot that desperately wanted to be Bourne was more Spooks, and I don’t mean good Spooks, I mean the compulsory bad episode in any series of Spooks where things just get a little bit too silly. In the end I didn’t really care what happened to Maria or whether anything would be resolved.
It is apparently part one of a planned trilogy. On this evidence I don’t think I’ll be back for a second helping.
Review copy provided by Harlequin / Netgalley