Martin Misunderstood

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 15 March, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 15 March, 2009, 12:00am


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Martin Misunderstood

by Karin Slaughter

Abacus, HK$78

In the past few years Karin Slaughter has broken from the pack of modern crime writers to take her place among the elite besides Patricia Cornwell, Kathy Reichs and Tess Gerritsen. Although she is best known for thrillers starring medical examiner Sara Linton and police chief Jeffrey Tolliver, Martin Misunderstood proves Slaughter is not afraid to shake up her formula or venture into fresh territory. Our hero, if that is the word, is Martin Reed. Born as he suspects 'into the wrong body', he imagines himself as 'Jodie Foster's estranged, less attractive fraternal twin'. Even this seems a stretch for someone who, for 16 years, has been an accountant at Southern Toilet Supply. Martin lives with his mother, escaping the drudgery of his life by diving into self-help books and, spookily enough, mountains of crime fiction. When one of Martin's colleagues is murdered it seems as though his imaginary life has been made flesh. That is until he becomes the chief suspect, unable to account either for his whereabouts or his reputation as a loner. Whether you read it as a page-turner or an acute character sketch, Martin Misunderstood is small but perfectly formed.