Damaged by Pamela Callow

Recently I had the pleasure of meeting Pamela Callow, a thriller author who has three published novels – Damaged (2010), Indefensible (2011) and Tattooed (2012). After talking to the writer, I was immediately inspired to dig into the first of her series.

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Damaged takes place in a small Canadian city (Halifax) but Callow was actually inspired to write the fiction novel after reading about an American case (involving the brokering of human tissue). She also added a serial killer into the mix, who at first targeted street women, but then began to change his MO as he became less and less organized due to the progression of a disease that interfered with his psyche.

Damaged, to say the least, was addictive. The combination of suspense, human emotion and relationships, forensic detail, mystery and twists made the novel a non-stop read and a story appealing to both male and female audiences. It is no surprise that the book has received a flood of affirmative reviews.

For example, internationally acclaimed thriller author, James Rollins (who has written many New York Times’ best selling books and has had his stories translated in over 40 languages) said, “Pamela Callow’s debut thriller, Damaged, reminded me of the best of Robin Cook; lightning paced, innovative, topical…and most of all, frightening. Part medical mystery, part bloody thriller, here is a debut that had me flipping pages until the wee hours of the morning”.

Best-selling author, Linwood Barclay, has compared Pamela Callow to John Grisham and described Damaged as “taut, edge-of-the-seat thriller with strong characters and a driving plot that’s inspired by emerging health technologies that may end up being, well, very bad for certain people’s health”.

Besides Callow’s obvious talent for creative writing, what makes Damaged such an intriguing, comprehensive tale is the author’s own professional experiences and investigative skills. The main character, Kate Lange (who carries on through the next two novels), is a lawyer just beginning her time working for a large firm. Callow herself got her law degree, was admitted to the Bar and then worked as an international consultant for a major American firm. While conducting research for Damaged, Callow interviewed various criminal justice professionals, including members of the major crime, detective and forensic units of her local law enforcement department, a forensic pathologist and a lab technologist. (For her other novels in the series, she consulted a forensic anthropologist, a medical examiner and other experts.)

I cannot find the appropriate words to pay Damaged its due, except that if you’re intrigued with anything to do with the world of criminal justice, you must read this novel! I, myself, cannot wait to go out and pick up Indefensible and Tattooed.