In The Blink of an Eye by Jo Callaghan – review

Published by Simon & Schuster

Publication date – 19 January 2023

Source – Harrogate proof copy

In the UK, someone is reported missing every 90 seconds.
Just gone. Vanished. In the blink of an eye. 

DCS Kat Frank knows all about loss. A widowed single mother, Kat is a cop who trusts her instincts. Picked to lead a pilot programme that has her paired with AIDE (Artificially Intelligent Detective Entity) Lock, Kat’s instincts come up against Lock’s logic. But when the two missing person’s cold cases they are reviewing suddenly become active, Lock is the only one who can help Kat when the case gets personal. 

AI versus human experience. 
Logic versus instinct.
With lives on the line can the pair work together before someone else becomes another statistic? 

DCS Kat Frank has just returned to work after compassionate leave following the death of her husband. She reluctantly accepts the role of lead in a pilot programme to work alongside an AI detective, known as AIDE Lock. They are tasked with reviewing cold missing persons cases. But the trail soon turns hot when the pair discover a link to two missing persons cases. Can they track down the missing men before it’s too late?

This is the debut novel of Jo Callaghan and what a way to start a career as an author. The narrative is immediately engaging, the characters, not just those of Kat and Lock but the others surrounding them, create a group that the reader wants to spend time with. Each are distinct, from the taciturn boss to the AI creator with a chip on her shoulder, from the police officer wanting to make a name for himself to the one who is trying to please. Each one has something to add to the story and each one has the potential to grow as the series develops.

Lock is rigid, functional and without influence of human emotions. He allows Kat to focus on her intuition, her instincts that are formed through years of experience and through human evolution. Lock is the counter to Kat, he feeds are information, is able to analyse objectively and Kat can use that information to look at how it would be dealt with by fellow humans, softened or manipulated where necessary. The pair show that the perfect detective is a fine balance of precision and compassion, of fact and intuition.

The story is engaging. This isn’t the usual murder mystery police procedural. After all, whilst there is the hint of death, the initial case is one of missing persons. It is an investigation into the darker side of human nature and the lighter side. The aspects that make humans what they are, faults and all. The book explores the lengths people will go to in order to protect the ones they love, to make their mark in the world and the ability to cross the line in order to achieve the unobtainable.

It is also a study in love and grief as the reader sees Kat come to terms with the death of her husband, navigating life and issues without her best friend with her. Through observing her Lock becomes more aware that there are great nuances to be found in life. That to love is instinctive, as is the knowledge that the price of love is grief.

The writing is fluid, strong and doesn’t drag. The reader is pulled along with the narrative, eager for Kat and her team to find the clues, ones which are left by the author for the reader to find and follow before the detectives get there.

A fantastic introduction to a detective duo with a difference. I can’t wait to see this series develop and I’m impatiently waiting for the next book.


You can order your copy here.

(This is an affiliate link so I may make a small amount of money if you buy through it. You can also buy In The Blink of an Eye from your local independent bookshop).

4 Comments Add yours

  1. MarinaSofia says:

    I read this one a few weeks back and was quite taken with it – it had a fresh, different feel, as well as a very original premise.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. janetemson says:

      It did have a different feel, and was handled very deftly I thought. Glad to hear you enjoyed it.


    1. janetemson says:

      Thank you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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