Flashes is the first in a new series of YA paranormal crime novels in which a 17-year-old girl cannot help seeing glimpses of dead people who seem to want her aid - much to the consternation of her boyfriend, who has just started work for the local CID.
'Flashes' was originally released in three instalments as a hugely successful e-book. Now appearing in print for the first time, I'm not sure if I would have been able to stand the suspense if I wasn't able to sit down and consume the whole book in one go. It was utterly gripping and a brilliant addition to the YA crime genre which keeps getting hotter and hotter!
British author Tim O'Rourke's day job is a policeman which meant that I felt assured from the start that all the details about the police force and the way in which they investigated the crimes in the book were absolutely authentic.
The main character, seventeen year old Charley, has flashes. She has suffered from them as long as she can remember but after the death of her best friend Natalie, they start to become more vivid. Charley is able to see through the eyes of victims of murders. She can see their final minutes. Desperate to prove to her father that the flashes are real, she sets out to investigate the death of a local girl called Kerry, wanting to show that she's not going mad or suffering from an overactive imagination. She ends up assisting a young police officer called Tom but what she begins to uncover is far more frightening than she could ever have predicted.
The point of view of each chapter alternates between Charley and Tom, showing events unfolding through their eyes. I thought this was a clever way of showing how Tom has to try to rationalise what is happening to his superiors and where all his leads are coming from, where as Charley has nothing to guide her but her instinct.
'Flashes' was a really thrilling read. I did guess the culprit quite early on in the book, although there were a lot of false leads thrown in, but I was still very surprised at some of the revelations which were revealed at the end. Also although I was correct in my assumption about who was responsible, I had no idea about what the motive could be.
This book is YA crime at it's best! I was glued to the fast-paced story and to Charley's need to unravel the truth no matter what the cost. I'm so pleased that there will be more in the series because I can't wait to see what cases Charley and Tom will investigate next.