Thomas H. Cook

The Fate of Katherine Carr

"Cook ably strides the divide of being a ‘literary’ crime writer…"


George Gates is a reporter for the local Winthrop Examiner. He writes pieces on local flower shows, a few obituaries and anything else 'nice'. But life hasn't always been 'nice' for George. His wife died giving birth to their son, Teddy, and when the boy was only eight he was taken away and found dead some weeks later. Every day George wonders what Teddy would be like now seven years down the line. He also thinks about who took Teddy away and how different things would be if he had collected Teddy from the bus stop like he had promised on that last morning.

Now George has another mystery to solve – the disappearance of a local poet, Katherine Carr. Vanished twenty years ago without a trace, George is now reading her weird and wonderful novel which seems to be mixing fact and fiction - or is it all just fiction? Or all simply fact? It appears to be a diary of strange events leading up to the day Katherine disappeared?

Helped by a young girl called Alice who has a degenerative condition, the unlikely sleuthing pair read through Katherine's book to find out what happened to her on the night she vanished from life.

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The Fate of Katherine Carr is a darkly Gothic novel touching several themes. With masterful strokes Cook takes us on a dark journey of people who kill, the victims they leave behind and the people left to deal with the trauma. It is an essay in why some murderers are caught and some clearly – literally - get away with murder. Are the clues found discovered by sheer chance or is there a higher body taking action? The Fate of Katherine Carr is not a book filled with action or car chases. This is a cleverly, beautifully written novel about victims and how they could stop being a victim and, possibly, become something else. This novel isn't your usual crime fare. There are deaths involved, unsolved murders but they are either played off stage or take place some time in the past. What gives this tale its impetus is the way Cook weaves the tales of George Gates and his guilt, the sad short life of Alice and the vanishment of Katherine herself via her manuscript she left behind the night she was last seen twenty years before. Cook ably strides the divide of being a 'literary' crime writer, combining sumptuous prose that gouges deep within the players of his books with a convincing, tightly written crime novel. He shows how human they truly are whether they are a wronged party or a killer without emotion. Cook also treats us to a winding tale full of dead ends and false pathways. In this latest novel, he infuses a sense of fantasy, a fairy tale amongst the daily lives of the inhabitants of Winthrop. With this mesmerising mixture he delivers a chilling Gothic tale resonant of Sheridan Le Fanu or Algernon Blackwood. This is amazing writing from an author who clearly has questions that need answers and is unafraid to take his readers to task and make them think as well. I dare you not to be still unravelling the Fate of Katherine Carr days after you have read the final page.

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