HOW CAN A CHILD GO MISSING WITHOUT A TRACE?
Last night, eight-year-old Daisy Mason disappeared from a family party. No one in the quiet suburban street saw anything - or at least that's what they're saying.
DI Adam Fawley is trying to keep an open mind. But he knows the nine times out of ten, it's someone the victim knew.
That means someone is lying...
And that Daisy's time is running out.
I'd read a lot of good comments about this book. Its mysterious, attractive cover, showing an abandoned scooter, kept popping up as a 'recommended read' in the communications I receive, so I downloaded a copy, if nothing to see if all the hype surrounding it was truly justified. 'Close to Home' is the first book in the DI Adam Fawley series.
Daisy Mason, an eight-year-old girl, disappears one evening during a fancy-dress party in her own garden. When her distraught parents raise the alarm, DI Adam Fawley rushes to their home to investigate. After questioning everyone present at the party, an organised search of the house and surrounding area is undertaken, but frustratingly it yields nothing. It's as though the girl vanished into thin air.
With the passing of days, the investigation gains momentum and becomes very complex, but due to the lack of evidence and credible witnesses, the prospect of finding the little girl alive dwindles rapidly, making DI Fawley wonder whether this case would have to be escalated to a murder investigation even without a body. Where's Daisy? What happened to her? Was she abducted? Was she murdered? But who would want to do that? And why?
The plot in this book is very intense and pacy. It is also very intriguing and brimful with suspicious characters, dead ends, and twists and turns. Adam Fawley is a likeable character, a brilliant investigator riddled by guilt and painful memories.
Practically every character (apart from the police) is a suspect, including both parents, who act very strangely and seem to be hiding something. All characters in the book may have had a possible motive for harming the girl. The author spends considerable time and effort diverting the reader's focus from one character to the other, raising their suspicion in each one of them. I honestly had no idea where the story was going or who could possibly be the culprit. Every time I was convinced a particular character was responsible, the author introduced some twist making me shift my focus on another one, and scratching my head in confusion... Oh yes! She did a great job in keeping me guessing till the end.
I was surprised to see that the book is not divided into chapters. Different sections are separated by asterisks. I found this a bit confusing as the story continuously bounces back and forth in time. We do have dates and locations added for our benefit though whenever a flashback takes place.
In my opinion, what we're told Daisy did in the flashbacks, points to a girl much older and wiser than an eight-year-old. Can't elaborate on this I'm afraid.
Apart from the text, the book is filled with news feeds and social media posts, making this a very contemporary read, even though the many Twitter feeds can prove quite exhausting to go through with all the @@@!
Finally, I imagined millions of ways in which the story would end, but I certainly wasn't expecting that ending. To be honest after such a thrilling, on the whole enjoyable, albeit disturbing story, it was a bit like an anticlimax by comparison. Sorry, I was hoping for something better and I thought it was a bit far-fetched, that's all. Such a pity!
I'm lucky enough to live in the city I write about. Oxford will be familiar to crime fans across the whole world because of the fabulous Morse novels and TV, but my version of the town is a long way from the beautiful ivy-clad colleges. A much edgier place where the crimes are darker and closer to home.
I've always been a voracious reader and viewer of crime - I've learned so much from the outstanding writing that we now see on crime TV like Line of Duty or Broadchurch, and I've tried to recreate the experience of watching series like that for my readers. I love true crime TV as well - my husband used to tease me about it but now just nods sagely and says 'research' !
What else about me? I have pet cats who do their best to distract me whenever I get close to a keyboard (if you have cats, you'll know), I love travelling, spending time with friends, and I have never knowingly turned down a glass of champagne....