REVIEW: The Girl in the Fog, Donato Carrisi

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

A man is arrested after a road accident in the small town of Avechot. His shirt is covered in blood. Could this have anything to do with a missing girl called Anna Lou? Detective Vogel is on the case, but his unconventional means of investigation end up unsettling the locals. Also looming over Vogel is a case from his past that nearly destroyed his career. Determined not to lose again, he will do anything to solve the mystery surrounding Anna Lou's disappearance. Then, a media storm hits the quiet town and Vogel is sure that the suspect will be flushed out. Yet the clues are confusing, perhaps false, and following them may be a far cry from discovering the truth at the heart of a dark town. 

In The Girl in the Fog, Donato Carrisi poses some interesting questions about the ever-increasing role of the media in crime and how the general public, looking on from the outside, choose to process the information, but it is really let down by an inherently unlikeable main character and a god-awful ending.
Instead of focussing on the missing girl at the focus of the investigation, the narrative instead centres on the man running it - Vogel, an arrogant, selfish man with a penchant for fame, nice suits and ignoring facts of the investigation and the evidence if it doesn’t fit into his strict view of what a murder-kidnap should entail. He doesn’t care about the girl, or the horrendous situation her family is going through, he only wants to capture the villainous figure who snatched young Anna Lou away and become a hero in the eyes of the ever-watching onlookers.
And honestly, try as I might, I couldn’t care about her anyway. Aside from her love of cats and her bright red hair, the reader learns virtually nothing about Anna Lou’s character. You see her just the same way that Vogel sees her - a faceless victim who has fallen prey to the real focus of the story. 
Ah, but who is the real focus of the story, the monster looming in the shadows just waiting for young innocents to skip passed? The most ridiculous monster ever. Can I just say that I have never, in my who know’s how many years of reading, ever come across a murder-mystery book with a more ludicrous motive for killing someone? I actually sat down with my grandma (whose second opinion has become vital now that I have started reading such a wide variety of books) after the book’s conclusion to attempt to explain the killer’s thought-process and confused myself even more. My mind still hurts thinking about it.
Which is shame because for the first 95% of the book, I was really enjoying myself. Sure, the characters weren’t likeable in the slightest and some of the wording of the sentences were a bit off, but it was addictive and fast-paced and really easy to read. It questioned whether the court of public opinion means more than the real one, whether the media truly has the power to make someone a villain and if the public really does care more about the perpetrator of a particular crime than its victim.
Honestly, in that, Anna Lou - like all of the people whose lives have ended in this truly horrific way - deserved better. Vogel and the rest of the police force half-arses the investigation, concerned far more for the flashing lights of the cameras; he doesn’t consider questioning her best friend, leads shoddy searches for her body and doesn’t even bother telling her parents when they apprehend a suspect. I mean, if they’d had done a good job of my second-point they may have had a better chance of finding her remains so that her parents could reach closure or may have had the chance, however unlikely, to find her alive.
Reading this book has left me with a lot to think about - and a lot of things in human nature to be horrified about, our apathy being a major one - but I just think that it had so much potential to be brilliant and it really did miss the mark.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

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