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What if you couldn’t recognise anyone anymore?

September 19, 2018

The Date by Louise Jensen, is a ripper of a mystery.  After her marriage falls apart, Alison Taylor is reluctantly persuaded to sign up to a dating app. She “meets” a nice man, and they have many good online conversations before agreeing to meet in person. Next thing she knows, Alison is waking up the morning after, with a bruised throat and arms, an aching bleeding head, and face blindness.

Before reading this novel, I didn’t actually know there was a condition called face blindness, or Prosopagnosia.  It can be acquired through trauma, or one can be born with it, but it means that you cannot recognise faces. Ever. Even faces you’ve seen a hundred times.  Occasionally there’s a one in a thousand chance you might retain recognition of a face, but usually, sufferers need to learn how to recognise people by voice, body language, hair, clothing etc. It’s a horrendous condition, when you think about it.

Soon after being released from hospital, Alison starts receiving threating notes implying that on the night of the date, she committed some kind of crime. Perhaps she ran someone over? Enlisting the help of her best friend, who lives next door, and her brother, she tries to recreate the events of the night. The only problem is, she comes to realise that some people are lying to her.  And who she thinks some people are, they aren’t.

Later into the plot, it emerges that her roommate (who she double dated with that night) is officially missing. In addition, she finds out that her roommate is actually the daughter of a woman who was killed in an armed robbery, that Alison’s father was involved in.  Is there a link?  Was it her she hurt?

Suffice to say that there are many twists and turns in this novel, and I certainly didn’t guess the ending. Louise Jensen has done an admirable job of portraying the imagined reality of living with face blindness, intertwined with a suspenseful mystery.  7/10.



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