Dr Jessie Flynn is an army psychologist. Normally she would treat wounded soldiers but she’s been asked to see a deeply traumatised child, the son of a badly injured Major. After a slightly violent first session, she’s reluctant to continue but there’s something intriguing about 4 year old Sami. Not least because she needs to find out who ‘The Shadowman’ is in order to save him. Add to this a former patient of Jessie’s, Ben Callan, a MP in the army who’s investigating a suspicious death; a mysterious torso washed up on the beach in Chichester and Jessie’s own personal demons.
I first came across Kate Medina last year when I read her brilliant debut, ‘White Crocodile’, set in Cambodia. What captured me most about her writing were her descriptions and her ability to transport her readers to a faraway land that most of us probably haven’t visited. ‘Fire Damage’ though is set in the UK – not nearly as exotic as Cambodia. However, Medina still has those magic descriptions and in fact, because a lot of the locations are familiar to me, it was almost easier to visualise the story.
I met Kate Medina last year at Wimbledon Bookfest and she has a fascinating background of psychology, military, publishing, business and now writing. She has brought those experiences into her stories, first with White Crocodile, looking at mine clearance in Cambodia – something that Kate did herself. Now, with Fire Damage she’s looking at the military through the perspective of psychology. Her two female protagonists – Tess Hardy in White Crocodile and Jessie Flynn in Fire Damage – are experts in their fields but are deeply flawed women. Traumatic past events haunt them both and Kate Medina doesn’t flinch from revealing the impact on the two women. In the case of Jessie – ‘Physician, heal yourself’- seems almost impossible as she seems hell bent on self-destructive behaviour. But in trying to help Sami, Jessie discovers that healing may even be possible for her.
Fire Damage is a fantastic book and kept me reading far too late into the night. And the best news? It’s the first in a series. I look forward to more!
I was given a proof copy to read without any expectations of a review. But it’s too good to not pass judgement.
You can follow Kate Medina on Twitter @KateTMedina