Emma’s darkest secrets are buried in the past. But the truth can’t stay hidden for long.
Emma is a loving wife, a devoted mother…and an involuntary killer. For years she’s been hiding the dead body of the teacher who seduced her as a teen.
It’s a secret that might have stayed buried if only her life had been less perfect. A promotion for Emma’s husband, Alex, means they can finally move to a bigger home with their young son. But with a buyer lined up for their old house, Emma can’t leave without destroying every last trace of her final revenge…
Returning to the shallow grave in the garden, she finds it empty. The body is gone.
Panicked, Emma confesses to her husband. But this is only the beginning. Soon, Alex will discover things about her he’ll wish he’d learned sooner. And others he’ll long to forget.
I've read all books published by Caroline Mitchell so far and I have to say from the outset that Silent Victim must be her best to date. Since writing her first book, this author has gone from strength to strength captivating her readers' imagination with excellent, intriguing stories.
"I am not a bad person, but I've done a very bad thing."
"I am a murderer. My soul is damned to hell."
These are the first gripping lines that immediately immerse the reader into this hair-raising, claustrophobic tale of obsession, manipulation, lies and murder.
The story is told over two time periods, one in 2002 and the other in the present day. In the prologue, we have this grisly scene of a woman burying the man she has just murdered in a ditch. It seems she had no choice, this was the only way she could get on with her life, by getting rid of this man. But why? Who was Luke? Why did she kill him? What happened for her to think there was no other viable option? What did he do to her? As I was reading this prologue, my mind became invaded by innumerable questions like these and others. I think the author succeeded 100% in writing a prologue that does exactly what it is intended to do. It piques the reader's interest and leaves them yearning to know more.
2002. Emma is just a teenager who becomes infatuated with the charming Luke Priestwood, her art teacher. Luke is not just a very handsome man that makes all girls drool over him, he's very kind and understanding, offering Emma extra tuition and support. Emma feels in love and at ease in his company, comfortable enough to pour her heart out to him, telling him her secrets and about her troubled life at home. Emma is a weak, damaged young girl who needs support, and that's exactly what she finds in Luke. He seems to reciprocate her affection, but doesn't it look too good to be true? Is Luke truly what he portrays on the outside? Well, you'll just have to read the chapters from his pov to find out.
In the present day, Emma is a mature married businesswoman and mum. Devoted to her family and business, she has put her past behind her as best she could, until one day her husband tells her of a promotion he's got. They will need to sell house and move to Leeds, but Emma can't leave without first getting rid of Luke's body which she has buried in the land making part of their property. But, when she goes to retrieve the body, with the intent of disposing of it somehow, she's stunned to find nothing there... no body. But how could this be? Where's the body? Someone must have removed it from the ground? Is someone in the knowledge of what she has done and is playing a trick on her? Or is the reason something much more sinister? From there, Emma's nightmares return, her past comes back to haunt her and her mental health takes a sudden plunge as she becomes obsessed with Luke again. She thinks he's come back to get her, to make her pay for what she did to him. But is it true? Or is this just the fruit of her troubled mind?
Well, this is a riveting read that made me gasp and bite my knuckles numerous times and that kept me hooked from the terrifying prologue to the heart-pounding ending. As the story gained pace, I honestly couldn't stay away from it for very long and I found myself thinking about the characters when I was at work, wondering what could happen next. The author's rich, crisp, eloquent prose makes this an even more enjoyable read, keeping the reader's interest high at all times. All characters are well portrayed and lifelike, the dialogues realistic and everything is vividly described in high definition, making me feel as if I were there in Emma's kitchen, in her shop or in the field where she buries Luke, and following her as she battles her demons and tries to keep the skeletons hidden in her closet.
My favourite character in this book was without doubt Alex. Even though his marriage is put into question and he goes through some very difficult moments of doubt, anger and resentment towards his wife, he stays on Emma's side, helping and loving her as best he could. In my opinion not only Emma is the silent victim here, I think Alex is too. He's a brave, genuine man. But should he really believe his wife? Was she really the Emma he thought he knew? How could the woman he loves be capable of doing something as terrible as murder? You see, questions will never stop invading your mind once you start reading this book.
A beautiful cover, a gripping, read-with-the-lights-on, fast-paced plot that keeps you guessing till the end, flawless writing, great characterisation... well, I couldn't ask for more. Although we're still in February, I already know that Silent Victim will be among my top reads of 2018. Highly, highly recommended!!
With thanks to the author and Thomas & Mercer for approving my request to read and review this fab book through Netgalley.
A former police detective, Caroline Mitchell now writes full time. She has worked in CID and specialised in roles dealing with the vulnerable victims of domestic abuse and serious sexual offences. The mental strength shown by the victims of these crimes is a constant source of inspiration to her, and Mitchell combines their tenacity with her knowledge of police procedure to create tense psychological thrillers.Originally from Ireland, she now lives in a pretty village on the coast of Essex with her husband and three children. You can find out more about her at www.caroline-writes.com, or follow her on Twitter (@caroline_writes) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/CMitchellAuthor/).