Phuket, Thailand, seemed to be the perfect getaway choice for twenty-two-year-old Calum Armstrong. What he saw and did on that holiday proves to have far-reaching consequences not only for himself but also for those closest to him.
In Germany, uncompromising Frankfurt detective, Otto Netzer, is leading the manhunt for a brutal serial killer who preys on heavily-pregnant women.
Neither Calum nor the killer yet realise that their destiny lies in the hands of a mythical creature who resides beneath the turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea.
Intriguing and exotic, Kevin Ansbro’s novel explores how our actions can come back to haunt us in the most unexpected ways.
‘Kinnara’ is a fantasy/crime thriller by British author Kevin Ansbro. There is absolutely no beating about the bush with this book. The reader is thrown straight into the action on page one. As we have no emotional investment in any of the characters at the outset, this is a bit of a gamble which can sometimes go horribly wrong. However if, as in this case, it’s done well, it’s a tantalising taste of things to come.
The main characters are three-dimensional and realistic with a strong supporting cast. We meet Calum, our main protagonist, as a teenager and get to know something of his personality. Therefore by the time we catch up with him in Phuket, it’s like reconnecting with an old acquaintance. Indeed, some of the peripheral players also have backstories which makes their cameos all the more meaningful.
Structurally, there are several threads running through the story and, as I’m easily confused, I sometimes find this disconcerting. This necessitated a quick revisit to the synopsis to reassure myself that all would be well in the end. The other potential problem with this approach is that some threads end up more interesting than others. However in this instance, I wasn’t tempted to skim read or skip bits (heaven forfend) as each perspective was equally absorbing.
Ansbro uses literary devices to full advantage with imagery, pathos, misdirection and foreshadowing, along with a smattering of similes, metaphors and copious amounts of dry humour. He also delivers a full gamut of emotions from joy and elation to anguish and despair. We have colourful descriptions of life in Phuket with striking contrasts between the steamy nightlife with its tawdry bars and just feet away, the innocent scene of a mother washing her baby in a tin bath.
Contemporary references are used to anchor the tale and from the author’s biography, we know he has travelled extensively and is an exponent of the martial arts. Therefore it was eminently sensible to play to his strengths and use his specialist knowledge when delivering this work.
The story zips along at a fast place until it reaches an unexpected conclusion, taking me completely by surprise.
This is without doubt a very good read and I’m truly envious of a writing style which can captivate readers in a smooth and effortless way. Kevin Ansbro has a knack of drawing his audience in immediately and I congratulate him on an excellent work of fiction. I look forward to his next offering and award ‘Kinnara’ a well-deserved five stars.
Kevin Ansbro was born of Irish parents and has lived in Malaysia and Germany. He was educated at Hamond’s Grammar School in Swaffham and at the Norfolk College of Arts and Technology, King’s Lynn. Kevin also has a background in karate and kickboxing and has travelled extensively – particularly in the Far East.
He is married to Julie and currently lives in Norwich, England.