Say Her Name by Dreda Say Mitchell and Ryan Carter
9th March 2022.
After the death of the mother who adopted her, Eva sets out to find her birth mother, creating a dark and dangerous journey that goes back to 1994 and the disappearance of four black women. With no evidence of any investigation by the police, and information scarce, Eva’s natural father, Danny, contacts her after a DNA test reveals they’re father and daughter.
From here, the story focuses on Eva getting to know her father and stepsister and her investigation to uncover the identity of her mother. The deeper she digs, the more questions she finds. Soon, she’s not sure who she can trust as forces opposed to her investigation stifle her progress, making her doubt the sense of her actions.
But she must go on, if only to find out what happened to the four missing women from 1994.
It’s a slickly plotted novel with plenty of twists and surprises to wrong foot Eva and the reader. There are also bigger issue questions about the racial attitudes in the 1990s and beyond, but these are never allowed to eclipse the main story as it weaves and twists towards an exciting climax.
While I enjoyed the story and characters, and the way the authors dealt with the racial issues, the intricate plot felt a little contrived for my liking. Otherwise, this is an intriguing an eminently readable story.
It’s twenty years since Eva, a biracial woman, was adopted as an eight-year-old, and Cherry and Carlton ‘Sugar’ McNeil have always been the only parents she’s wanted or needed. But when she’s dealt the double blow of Cherry’s death and her own suspension from work, Eva decides it’s time to discover who she was before she was theirs.
Against Sugar’s advice, Eva joins a DNA database, desperate for a match that will unlock her identity. And when a positive hit comes, she’s excited to learn there are relations out there who might hold the key. But the closer Eva gets to uncovering her past, the more it appears someone is trying to stop her finally finding the truth…
As she continues to dig, Eva is drawn into a dark and merciless underside to society, where black women disappear without a word. Names erased from history, no search parties, no desperate pleas for their return. Once, someone tried to save Eva from all this. Someone wanted a better life for her. But now that she’s torn down the façade of her life, has she come too far to be spared again?
Tags: Crime fiction, Thriller