Much like the Rorschach test on the cover of some editions of ‘The Dangerous Kind’ by Deborah O Connor, we tend to only see in people the things that we wish to see there.
In the cases of historic child abuse, institutions such as the BBC were shaken to their core by Operation Yewtree and now that the nations’ bogeymen have been dragged out into the light of day, it gives the impression that this is a ‘dealt with thing’.
It absolutely is not, and this, the fictional story of Jessamine Gooch, who presents a BBC radio programme, raises important ,if uncomfortable questions.
Jessamine is an ex-newspaper reporter turned radio presenter of ‘Potentially Dangerous People’ wherein she takes a look back at historic crimes, with the help of field specialists, in order to try and pinpoint behavioural clues as to why these things happened.
With a looming threat of a station ‘revamp’ meaning this 50 something single mother could be potentially made redundant, the appearance outside the BBC of a young woman who has tracked Jessamine down to ask for her help, could be the push she needs both professionally and personally.
Marnie’s friend , Cassie, left her job to go and pick her unwell 5 year old child up from school after a phone call telling her he was sick. But she didn’t arrive to collect him from after school club and no one from the school rang her…
This , combined with allegations of domestic violence against Cassie’s husband Luca, and a general lack of interest from the police to track her down, have left Marnie floundering and turning to Jessamine to investigate.
Jessamine’s adopted teenager, Sarah, the second narrator in the book, has been asking questions about her birth parents which Jess is reluctant to answer. She cannot delay the inevitable and uncomfortable truths that Sarah will find out about, but she whilst she is trying to, Sarah feels ignored and frustrated, leading her to make some unwise online connections.
A chance encounter links the third narrator, Jitesh, and Jessamine. A young sound engineer, he overhears a meeting whilst fixing wiring at the BBC, and gives help to Jessamine about a breaking news story using his technical (hacking)skills. He has an unconditional offer to study at Cambridge, and an apprenticeship at the BBC so what is the mystery behind his panic attacks and stuttering? Concerns for a fellow classmate lead him down some dark alleyways…
The fourth narrator is Rowena, a young girl-12/13 years old-from the late 90’s through to the early 2000’s, and it is her tale that brings all the characters together.
A mystery,a missing mother, an investigation into the darkest corners of inhumanity, a journey of self discovery and a driving sense of justice temper every page.
‘The Dangerous Kind’ are the people we are supposed to look up to, respect and admire and they are exactly the ones we should be looking out for.
I am reluctant to say much more in case it reveals spoilers so all I will end with is, is please, buy the book when it is released in May, read it and take it on board. It’s a gripping story with moments of pure frustration and heartbreak, It’s not an easy read but it’s a powerful one that I would absolutely recommend.
- 2 women a week in the U.K die at the hands of their partner or an ex-partner.
- This is an unchanging figure, and the risks of domestic violence increase during pregnancy and the first year after childbirth.
- 54,000 children were reported to have been subject to abuse according to the NSPCC, in the years 2015-2016.
These are the figures we know. They could be much higher.
If your New Year Resolution is to support a charity , either with time or monetary contributions, please consider researching your local children’s charities and domestic violence refuges.
The amount of people they can support annually is determined by council funding and cost cutting measures means even if a woman wants to escape a domestic abuse situation, the reality is there is often a lack of available refuge space. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.