Rosa is a gifted Cambridge student, with a promising life ahead of her, but her mother took her own life when Rosa was just a child and she’s grieving for her father – who or may not have been a spy, but certainly worked for the British Foreign Office – after he died in a mysterious car crash in India. Rosa’s only remaining family is her aunt and her aunt’s slightly strange husband, Martin, who’s just been fired from his job as a scientist at a large pharmaceutical company.
During her first year at Cambridge, Rosa meets a charming Irishman, Jar (short for Jarlath). They fall deeply in love and Jar can’t believe his luck, until he is devastated by Rosa’s suicide – she apparently jumped off the pier near her aunt’s house by the sea. Five years later Jar still can’t accept that Rosa is dead. For one, her body was never found and two, he keeps seeing her. Or does he? Everyone assumes Jar’s visions are ‘post-bereavement hallucinations’ but one day when he catches sight of her at Paddington tube station and chases her all the way up to the main line station and the train to Cornwall, Jar is convinced it really is Rosa and that she’s still alive.
Despite early promise as a published writer, Jar has ended up in a deadbeat, boring job writing clickbait for an entertainment website, much of it about the inane doings of celebrities. But around the same time as his Paddington sighting, Rosa’s diary suddenly turns up on a computer at her aunt’s house and Jar manages to persuade his sidekick at work, Carl, to help him on the hunt for Rosa. However, when he’s pulled over by the police (who he suspects are really the intelligence services) Jar soon discovers that he has unleashed forces much bigger than he and Carl can possibly contend with. Things spiral out of control after he receives desperate emails from the supposedly dead Rosa: Find Me.
Find Me has all the elements of an intense, intelligent and intricately plotted thriller with fast-paced action and echoes of Le Carré (who receives a couple of nods in the course of this novel). Jar is a likeable character and the novel cleverly jumps from his point of view to Rosa’s and Rosa’s diary – which we are not sure is authentic until the novel’s closing. We’re on Jar’s side but we never know if he is suffering from extreme paranoia or if there really are dark forces at work and we’re kept guessing at what really happened to Rosa. In a tense and frightening second half, Find Me leads to a satisfying but creepy – sometimes shocking – conclusion.
J.S. Monroe read English at Cambridge, worked as a freelance journalist in London and was a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4. Monroe, the author of five other novels, was also a foreign correspondent in Delhi for the Daily Telegraph and was on its staff in London as Weekend editor.