The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Harmer

The Girl in the Red Coat

Kate Harmer

Carmel, the eight year old daughter of a single mother, disappears from a storytelling festival. What happens next is related in alternating chapters by the grieving mother and the missing daughter. The tension is extreme, the characters are believable and such is the skill of the writing that even the more bizarre events are acceptable to the reader. I defy any reader to guess the reason why Carmel was chosen. A brilliant debut novel.




Extract

'Where's my mum?' I nearly shout, except it comes out quite small because my throat feels so tight .
His face goes a bit less upset and straightens out. 'I need to check, what's your exact name?'
'Carmel Summer Wakeford,' I say, trying not to cry. But everything happening's so wrong I can feel a big sob blocking up my throat and the snot in my nose starting to run.
He's nodding, like he's got the right person, and says in a slow voice, 'Carmel, it's your mother. She's had a terrible accident.'
There's a rushing in my ears and the fog cuts us off so it's just me and him.
'Who are you?' I ask.
And he says to me, 'I'm your grandfather.'

Parallels
  • The First Book of Calamity Leek by Paula Lichtarowicz
  • Whatever You Love by Louise Doughty