Before It’s Too Late, by Jane Isaac

Four stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Jane Isaac, and Legend Press for providing me with a copy of this book, which allows me to provide you with this review.

In my first experience with an Isaac novel, I found myself captivated from the outset of this stellar psychological thriller. After Chinese student Min Li goes missing in Stratford-upon-Avon while walking alone, DI Will Jackman is asked to open a missing person’s investigation. Jackman is recently back on the job after a horrible accident left his wife in a coma, with little hope of waking, which weighs heavily on his mind, though he is determined to return to the workforce. While Jackman and his team begin piecing together leads, a ransom demand arrives, is paid, but Min is still nowhere to be found. As Jackman finds parallels between a number of other missing women in the region, all matching Min’s generic description, he turns to CCTV footage, which proves useless. When a second college student goes missing, with a similar ransom message, Jackman heads into the Chinese Quarter to investigate another angle, which opens up new possibilities, but also additional quagmires to befuddle the authorities. With alternating chapters from Min Li’s perspective, Isaac tells a wonderful story that has layers of suspense and mystery and keeps the reader trying to piece the mystery together before the final pages, in hopes that no one else falls prey to this kidnapper. An exciting new author for my collection and one readers should not pass up.

While not her first novel, its presentation offers both a fresh and well-founded addition to the genre. Isaac grips the reader with the premise and does not let go. The fast-paced action is augmented with short chapters that keep the pace flowing. Jackman is a wonderful character, who bring much baggage to his job, but uses his personal issues to fuel a passion to forge onwards. Isaac uses wonderful characters and powerful narration to keep the story flowing effectively and captures the reader’s attention throughout. If I could offer but one query, the linguistic capabilities of young Min Li, especially in her centric chapters seems more advanced than I would have expected. However, this is menial in the overall novel.

Kudos, Madam Isaac for such a powerful piece that kept me enthralled. I hope to find more of your work and devour it in the coming months.