Thursday 6 February 2020

BLOG TOUR: Traumata - Douglas Renwick

In Khuh Tabar, in foothills of the Hindu Kush, a young Englishwoman witnesses a war crime in which her loved-ones die. In 2020, she returns to England, bereaved and broken. When she discovers the identity of the man who murdered them, her grief turns to anger.

She seeks solace from an on-line bereavement support group. One of them advises her to kill the man. Should she honour the ancient code of the Pashtuns and avenge their deaths, risking a life sentence for murder, or abide by the laws of her homeland and live with her anger forever?

When the killer is found dead, the police question her. She turns to her father for help.

What did I think?

I was completely intrigued when I read the synopsis of Traumata; I expected an angry revenge killing thriller but I was completely wrong as Traumata is so much more involved than that.  I experienced a wealth of emotions, both with Melanie and her father, as the story past and present is revealed.

Dr Melanie Green is serving her country in Afghanistan when she finds herself stranded in a Pashtun village in the mountains.  When she is 'rescued' in a dramatic and devastating way, she returns to England, grieving and alone.  Seeing her 'rescuer', Mr Nasty, climbing the ranks of British politics, her anger intensifies and she turns to an online support group where she meets an American named Rand.  In a series of email exchanges (which are included in the book), Rand and Melanie explore ways to kill Mr Nasty.  When Mr Nasty is found dead in suspicious circumstances, just days after Melanie reports his war crimes, the police turn their attention to Melanie.

Melanie's father, Michael, is a doctor in Spain and he returns home to help Melanie when her case goes to court and her mental health comes under scrutiny.  This is the part I really enjoyed and loved the way it was written to include courtroom scenes, conversations with legal counsel and the hunt for evidence to help Melanie.  The legal system really is like a game; bluff as much as you can and don't reveal all your cards until you have to.  I found the whole case gripping and intense, which kept the pages turning effortlessly.

The feeling I got throughout the whole book is a father's love for his daughter.  Michael never once lost faith in Melanie and was prepared to go to the ends of the earth to help her case.  I think being a doctor conflicted a little with his role as a father as he did question Melanie's mental health on occasion, but he never failed to do his best for her.

Traumata turned out to be completely different to what I imagined, in a very good way.  Aside from the very emotional and devastating story of Melanie's past, I loved the email transcripts and the legal element of the story.  The courtroom scenes were so vivid, I could have been sat in the public gallery myself.  The strapline 'Dramatic, Different, Exciting and Sensitive' is absolutely perfect for Traumata; a legal thriller that has its roots in the British Army in Afghanistan.  

Traumata is explosive, intense, emotional and very compelling; I got so embroiled in the story I didn't even ask myself the most important question: did she do it?  For the answer to that, you'll just have to read it to find out!

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

About the author:

According to his British passport, Douglas Renwick's occupation for many years was 'Government Service'. This included spells in Libya, Malta, Cyprus, Ireland and Germany. He also worked at the Ministry of Defence in London, the Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Powers in Europe in Belgium, the Pentagon in Washington DC, and White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

He has spent time in East Berlin, Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, Argentina, Egypt, Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Burma, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. He has jumped out of planes, swum across Valetta harbour, skied across the Alps and the Rockies, and been transferred by breeches buoy from one Royal Navy ship to another, at sea and under full steam. He has been down a coal-mine in Yorkshire, a salt-mine in Poland and a nuclear bunker in Essex.

Now a grandfather, retired and living in Kent, time allows him to commit some of his experiences to paper. He prefers writing fiction on the grounds that it is safer.

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