The Reiki Circle
by Fiona McCallion
Millie Garner, the main character in The Reiki Circle, is a Reiki practitioner with a surprising talent for detective work.
The book begins with Millie mulling over a recent gathering of her friends, giving us an insight into some of the other individuals, her attitude towards them and her own character flaws. It is her flaws, her acceptance of them and her constant battle with them that endear her almost immediately to the reader, whether familiar with Reiki or not.
The plot unfolds from three main viewpoints: Millie herself; Detective Sergeant Amos, the policeman in charge of the investigation; and, intriguingly, the viewpoint of the murderer, Red Heart, whose identity is unveiled only in a twist at the end - although I guarantee readers will suspect one person after another as Knight cunningly drops red herrings throughout the story.
Knight, as a Reiki practitioner herself, is clearly biased in favour of the role Reiki plays in this murder mystery, but the story is compelling in and of itself, whether familiar with this practice or not. Red Heart's narrative, interspersed in chapters of his own throughout the book, is a horribly fascinating insight into the mind of a psychopath - the amusement intrinsic in his stalking of his victim feels almost real.
The use of social media is particularly topical and relevant to the way we all live today. Most of us have accepted connection requests from total strangers because we have "met" them on a networking site, thereby giving away all kinds of personal information that we wouldn't dream of giving to strangers in real life. I particularly enjoyed Red Heart's take on this.
The story is set in London, with nods to both the North of England and the South Coast. The victim's job history is well researched, resulting in a believable list of products from her old employer and a description of a modern company's hierarchy and outlook that will be recognisable by any reader working in any company.
Can Reiki help in solving murders? I really have no idea. What I took away from this story was real enjoyment and an eagerness to see if she can write more as compelling as this one - I was hooked right to the end.
Well, of course the first book review is about my own book. What did you expect? - Imogen