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The Know by Martina Cole.
Published by Headline, 2003

Joanie Brewer is a prostitute. She has lived a hard life but above it all she is a brilliant mother to her three kids, all of whom have different fathers. 18 year old Jon Jon is knee-deep in crime, while 14 year old Jeanette knows more than is good for her. 11 year old Kira is the light of her life so when she mysteriously disappears, Joanie’s world is turned upside down. The family know in their heart of hearts that Kira is dead. They want revenge and God help anyone that stands in their way.

Having read almost all of Martina Cole’s books I was really looking forward to getting stuck into this one. I wondered if it would be up to her usual standard and I wasn’t disappointed. This book gripped me from the minute I opened the front cover and I found it hard to put down.

Her characters, as usual, are very realistic and you find yourself drawn into their world. Cole makes you care about them even though they are prostitutes and hardened criminals and you don’t live their kind of lives. The story itself is very gritty and hard-hitting but she covers the worst of subjects – paedophilia and murder – very delicately and shows you how a family can be torn apart and then emerge stronger from such terrible experiences.

Reviewed by a Clare County Library Staff member.