Jasper is not ordinary. In fact, he would say he is extraordinary. Synaesthesia paints the sounds of his world in a kaleidoscope of colours that no one else can see. But on Friday, he discovered a new colour – the colour of murder. He’s sure something has happened to his neighbour, Bee Larkham, but no one else seems to be taking it as seriously as they should be. Jasper must uncover the truth about that night, including his own role in what happened.

This book has received a lot of praise since its release earlier this year so, as with any book that has been hyped up, I went into it with a healthy amount of scepticism. However, this book deserves the acclaim. It is easily one of the best books I’ve read so far this year.

Its main selling point is its originality and, although it bears similarities to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, it is a truly unique book. Jasper not only has synaesthesia – meaning sounds make him see colours – but he also suffers from prosopagnosia, or face blindness, so he doesn’t recognise anyone in his life, not even his own reflection in the mirror. Instead, he recognises people by distinctive pieces of clothing or jewellery, or the sound of their voices. As the story is told from his point of view, this makes for a fascinating reading experience unlike anything I’ve ever read before.

It would be easy to let such a complex main character overtake the plot but Harris also explores interesting themes such as morality, community and friendship in a story that has an intriguing mystery at its heart. Bee Larkham has gone missing and while everyone else seems happy to assume she has left of her own volition, Jasper suspects there is something more sinister going on. His suspects include a neighbour who owns a gun and the father of one of Bee’s music students.

I particularly enjoyed the relationship between Jasper and his father, an ex-marine who is struggling with life as a single parent since the death of Jasper’s mother. He reads books on autism in an attempt to better understand his son but, despite trying his best, doesn’t always get things right.

Due to Jasper’s learning difficulties and face blindness there are numerous gaps in the story where the reader has to piece together the clues to figure out what is going on. While some reviewers have found this frustrating, I love it when authors know their readers are smart enough to puzzle things out without having to be told.

There are times when the descriptions of Jasper’s synaesthesia became repetitive and the minutiae of detail in every scene becomes frustrating, interrupting the pace of the story, but this was a small flaw in an otherwise brilliant book.

This is one of the must-read books of 2018 and anyone who hasn’t experienced the joy of reading it is definitely missing out.