Jar (Jarlath Costello) is a young Irish potential author who works in London, at present writing content for internet pages designed to lure unsuspecting visitors (would be customers) into clicking on particular links. But Jar has a problem. He cannot get over the death of his girlfriend Rosa some five years ago. In fact, things are so bad the first chapter of this book involves Jar being convinced he has just had a glimpse of her on the escalator one morning while on his way to work. This is something he has experienced more than once and he now believes it is her, back from the dead.
Jar’s friends are keen on him accepting some counselling which he does but things become even more confusing when he feels he is being followed, something which is compounded by his flat being ransacked. Amy, Rosa’s aunt, contacts Jar about some files Rosa seems to have left on Amy’s laptop. Amy is married to Martin who has recently left his work in animal research in order to become a freelance writer and Rosa stayed with them for a while during which time she must have used Amy’s laptop for her own use.
Amy contacts Jar because there seems to be something unusual about those files and Jar finds that they are actually encrypted. It seems that other people, the police and secret services, also need to get their hands on the files and Jar is forced into various situations which become more dangerous as time goes on. Carl, Jar’s friend and work colleague, finds someone who can decrypt the files a few at a time and Jar gains access to them one by one, their content being Rosa’s diary, indicated in suitable chapters presenting the past in her own words. They begin with her time at Cambridge and her problems with the death of her father and, from her first time of meeting Jar, how her life had developed, this all being written in the alternate chapters.
It becomes obvious that there is a question as to whether Rosa was murdered, committed suicide, or just disappeared for some reason and, as each suspect is considered, so another one pops up. There are some aspects introduced which give considerable food for thought and it was fairly well on in the book before I started to have an inkling of what might have really happened. The whole thing leads to a conclusion which includes several tense moments and a final understanding of what did actually happen to Rosa. However to explain any further would start to unravel the plot of a good psychological thriller, one which uses the current vogue of ‘past and present’ very well.
I enjoyed this book and found it fairly difficult to put down, always being inclined to read just one more chapter because it was obviously pertinent to what I had just read.