Lock Me In is a compelling and tense psychological thriller, from debut author, Kate Simants. This is an accomplished novel that is chilling in its complicity and provides engrossing twists that keep adding to a puzzling plot. The structure of the book is short chapters which alternate between a first-person account from Ellie Power and a third-person perspective around Detective Sergeant Ben Kwon Mae. Handing the first person POV to Ellie is a clever move as it gives a wonderful and personal insight into the mental turmoil and unabating stress young Ellie is experiencing.
Ellie is nineteen years of age, and her history, as it unwraps over the course of the story, is heart-breaking. The major complication is that she is diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder that manifests itself while she is asleep and takes on the personality of her alter – Siggy.
“You want to know fear? Imagine someone there, every day when you wake. Imagine knowing, without even opening your eyes, that someone is watching you.
You want to know fear? Fear has a name. Her name is Siggy.”
Ellie knows Siggy is there waiting and watching, knowing she will get her moment as she hangs at the edges of her consciousness with a disturbing threat of fatality. Ellie’s mother, Christine Power, locks her daughter in her bedroom at night to prevent her causing damage to herself and others. Christine has explained to Ellie that her best friend, Jodie, was murdered by Siggy, and she has protected Ellie from suspicion. Ellie, unfortunately, tried to commit suicide as a consequence.
“In the last moment, when I dragged that blade across my neck, more than anything I had wanted to see Siggy. I stared myself in the eyes because I wanted her to watch and know she hadn’t won. All I could think, at the time, was that if I wasn’t alive, Siggy couldn’t hurt anyone. I’d just wanted her gone. She had taken my friend, and I wanted her to suffer for it. I didn’t care that it meant me too.”
In the five years since Jodie’s disappearance, Ellie has developed a strong relationship with boyfriend Matt Corsham, whom she loves and has trusted in knowing her condition. In the background, Matt has been doing some research to uncover more detail and now he has gone missing too. The misgivings are widened when we discover Matt has also been communicating and meeting with Charles Cox, the psychiatrist, who was examining Ellie and can shed some light on her condition. In another twist, Cox also has a dubious past with some questionable behaviour.
DS Ben Mae was a new detective during the police investigation into finding Jodie and now leads up Matt’s missing person’s investigation. Mae has a very troubling personal life with his ex-wife and his unreliable relationship with his eight-year-old daughter Bear. Mae is teamed with his new colleague DC Catherine (Kit) Ziegler who is an unusual character that brings a lot of energy and off-the-wall dialogue. The plot developments towards the end of the book are fascinating and with an enthralling cast of characters deliver a great story that maintains an impressive pace throughout.
I would rate this book 4.5 stars as there were a few moments I just struggled with the convenience of the plot. I highly recommend reading this book and I’d like to thank, Kate Simants, HarperCollins, One More Chapter and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC version in return for an honest review.