Title: The Woman at No. 13
Author: C.K. Williams
Published on: 13 August 2021
Genre: Psychological Thriller
She told you a secret. Now she’s dead and it’s your fault.
GP Kate O’Leary is respected by her community. But one day, she sees her life collapse. It all started with Kate finding the dead body of her teenage patient. The girl was found lying on her bed, each limbs chopped up and arranged again.
The cops find bloodied clothes of the victim in Kate’s house so they arrest her. She calls her friend Jannis to come over immediately. Jannis and Kate met almost two decades ago. Jannis takes the next flight out of Australia and rushes to be at Kate’s side in Ireland. Kate is released but she now sees the whole community is against her. They want her to move out of their town. She receives threatening letters. Letters with rape and death threats. There’s more – someone with a rifle appears at her house at night. Things take a turn for worse when Kate is attacked.
Gosh! What an intense, mind-blowing, nerve-wracking and completely engrossing psychological thriller! It had been a long time since I read a nail-biting thriller of this kind. Phew! Blew my mind!
The story begins with a flashback of Jannis and Kate’s meeting. Fast forward to the present, Jannis receives a phone call from Kate, asking him to come over as soon as possible. When Jannis arrives at Ireland, he learns Kate is arrested for the murder of her teenage patient. Kate wants Jannis’ support. She is innocent. But the rest of the community do not think so.
The spotlight of the story is abortion (which was illegal in Ireland until a couple of years ago) and how the society views those who abort a child/doctors who perform abortions. Kate has been Alice’s doctor since birth. When Alice is in her early teens, she’s curious – about periods and sex. She asks Kate for help as the topic is almost a ‘taboo’ at her school and home. A few months later, Alice is pregnant and comes to Kate for help once again. Kate prescribes medicines that will help Alice abort the child. A few days later, Alice is found murdered in her home.
When the news of Kate helping Alice in aborting a child circulates around town, everybody turns against her. They threaten her and force her to leave the place. But Kate is adamant to know who killed her patient and why. As the story proceeds, Kate, Jannis and Father Daniel are in for a roller-coaster of a ride – from homosexual relationships and abortions to societal pressure.
This book surely brings a strong message on things that are still considered a taboo in certain parts of the world. Jannis has a secret he’s dying to tell – something to do with his personal life. Meanwhile, Kate and the local pastor are in a relationship – which goes against the rules of the church. Then, we have the mystery behind the young girl’s murder – a revenge killing.
I was hooked on to the story from the start and could not put it down until the end. The character portrayal is excellent and the storytelling is simple Fantastic! Dark, intense and gripping, The Woman at No. 13 by C.K Williams is a must read book for every psychological thriller fan.
I received an ARC from One More Chapter and NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.