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The Colour of Bee Larkham's Murder by Sarah J Harris

Last year, when New Zealand singer songwriter Lorde revealed her inspiration for her latest album, it was the first I had heard of synaesthesia. In an interview at the time, she described her work as translating the colours in her mind's eye.

This intriguing thriller tells the story of Jasper, a teen who also has synaesthesia, which means he sees sounds as colours. His face blindness (or prosopagnosia) also prevents him from recognising anyone's face, including family and friends. Instead, he relies on the colour of their voices. Outside of school, Jasper spends his time bird watching and painting the sounds of his vibrant world.

When his friendly neighbour, Bee Larkham goes missing, he instinctively knows something terrible has happened. Jasper soon sees a dazzling new colour, one he has never seen before: murder. The colour of murder is ice blue crystals with glittery edges and jagged, silver icicles. A knife and screams are confusingly jumbled memories. Jasper also struggles to recall who he has seen visiting next door and what they were doing with Bee. He grapples with his own role in Bee's murder and someone who is determined to stop him.

Sarah's writing cleverly combines the bliss of seeing a world through colour, with the danger of not knowing who to trust. She provides a wonderfully engaging and fascinating insight to everyday life with synaesthesia.

Sarah, who is also a journalist, has previously written for young adults under a pseudonym. She was inspired to write this unforgettable novel after extensively researching synaesthesia for an article. She lives in London and is currently writing her second novel.

Reviewer: Andrea Molloy HarperCollins, RRP $35.00


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