Catherine Sampson, Out of Mind (2005)

This crime novel is the second in the British Robin Ballantyne series.

Robin Ballantyne is a TV journalist, working for the Corporation. Her colleague Melanie Jacobs has gone missing (for some reason she is called Melanie Trent on the back cover). Melanie is a brave camera woman, darting off to the world´s hot spots, living a dangerous life to report the horrible truth about war to the British viewers. Ironically, Melanie disappears while she is back home, participating in a course at the War School, learning about how to stay safe in a war zone.

Even though Robin regards herself as less courageous than Melanie, there is no doubt in her mind that she must do anything within her power to find out what happened. She speaks to Melanie´s parents, her boyfriend and some of the officers she met abroad.

More than once the police and her superiors tell Robin to forget all about Melanie, hinting that it may be better for the camera woman herself to leave it alone, but of course she is even more determined to find out why the tough, young woman disappeared. And Robin´s life is quite complicated already, a single mother with three-year-old twins and a couple of stubborn sisters who want her to take sides in their perpetual arguments. She seems to care very much about Finney, her nice police officer, but when his ex-wife reappears on the stage, she is not certain she can trust him – or herself – as none of them have ever been good at longterm relationships.

I bought the book myself. Though it is not quite as good as Sampson´s outstanding debut, I will recommend it for readers who like an engaged and engaging female sleuth who cannot keep her nose out of trouble when she believes someone is in danger.

About Dorte Hummelshøj Jakobsen

I am a Danish teacher. In my spare time I read, write and review crime fiction.
This entry was posted in British, Catherine Sampson, review, review 2011. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Catherine Sampson, Out of Mind (2005)

  1. Margot Kinberg says:

    Dorte – A very fine review – thanks. Along with the things your post mentions about this novel, I like the balance of “home life” scenes and “work life” scenes. Perhaps this isn’t quite as good as Simpson’s debut, but it does show a solid character and some good character development. Thanks for the reminder of it.

  2. Thank you, Margot. I hope it comes across that I enjoyed it a lot; the first one was just even better 🙂

  3. Barbara says:

    This sounds like an interesting character trying to balance family with job and loyalty to a friend. I’m putting it on my list along with the first one in the series.

  4. Sounds interesting. I think I’ll read the debut first though.

  5. Barbara and Clarissa: I´d certainly recommend beginning with the first. Not only because it is even better, but also because her love and family life play an important role.

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