When 25-year-old Bella Michaels is brutally murdered in the small town of Strathdee, the community is stunned and a media storm descends. Unwillingly thrust into the spotlight is Bella’s beloved older sister, Chris, a barmaid at the local pub, whose apparently easygoing nature conceals hard-won wisdom and the kind of street-smarts that only experience can bring.
Although ‘An Isolated Incident‘ is a crime novel, it is so much more than that. The readers may be wondering who has committed this hideous crime but I was more interested in the effect that the crime had on Chris, who is a beautifully-constructed, nuanced character. I was completely engrossed in this novel from the get-go due to Chris’s no-nonsense approach to telling things like they are.
Emily Maguire conveys the complexity of human life with thought and intelligence. Her depiction of grief coupled with destructive behaviour really challenges societal expectations towards the family of a murder victim.
Emily Maguire has created an incredible study on grief, sex and society with female characters at the centre of everything. The language Maguire uses is beautiful and evocative, often at odds with the brutality of the action.
I loved this novel for many reasons but particularly its exploration of society’s morbid fascination with pretty, female murder victims.