When elderly George Rainsford goes to investigate a suspicious noise one night, the last thing he expects to find is a bloodbath. A man has been killed and a woman brutally beaten, left for dead. The victims are Lois Craven and Kevin Hardaker – both married, but not to each other. Their spouses swear they knew nothing of the affair and, besides, they both have alibis for the attack. With nothing else to link the victims, the investigation hits a dead end.
The pressure is on for investigating officer, DCI Matilda Darke: there’s a violent killer on the loose, and it looks like her team members are the new targets. With no leads and no suspects, it’s going to take all Matilda’s wits to catch him, before he strikes again.
I wanted to read this book last year, when it was published, but for some reason it slipped through my net. Now, as the author is about to publish book 3 in his fabulous DCI Matilda Darke series, I really wanted to catch up, and finally got round to reading it. And you know what? I could just kick myself for not reading it before. This book is just fan-freakin'-tastic!!
'Outside Looking In' can be read as a standalone, but I would still highly recommend readers to start the series in order, from 'For Reasons Unknown' (which is another brilliant book and one of my top reads of 2015), because in this book there are references to a case dealt with in the first one.
I loved the way the author begins this book, drawing the reader into the story right from the first page. An elderly man goes out in the night to investigate the continuous and rhytmic sound of a car horn. The sound leads him to a dark alley where he stumbles upon a scene of utter horror. The bloody, battered body of a man is lying on the ground, and a woman covered in blood, is lying half outside the car desperately pressing the horn for help. It's obvious that this couple has been subjected to a vicious attack. What happened here? Who are these people? Who did this to them? And why?
The woman is rushed to hospital and DCI Matilda Darke and her team are called in to investigate. But with no suspects, no leads and no evidence, this will be a very hard nut to crack. Everyone seems to be hiding something, but someone knows what happened and is lying... but who?
Michael Wood is an extraordinary, talented writer. His writing is excellent and all characters are brought vividly to life through very realistic dialogue. I love his books, his writing style and his main character, Matilda Darke. A year after losing her husband, Matilda is still in mourning and struggling to cope with life and work. Apart from that she's continuously attacked by the press for failing to return an abducted young boy to his parents following a botched ransom drop. And if that wasn't enough, someone is out to get her... But who and why? Will she succeed in solving this case and prove her worth in the police again?
I really enjoyed reading this book. It is a very absorbing, dark and twisted read that hooked me in from the start. The plot is thick, well-thought out and full of twists and turns, keeping the reader engrossed throughout. Whenever I had some time to read a few chapters I always found it hard to put my kindle back down. I desperately wanted to know who did this to these people and why. The author keeps the suspense levels high at all times, making this a very fast-paced read. The ending was totally heart-pounding and breathtaking.
This is another fabulous addition to the series and I can't recommend it highly enough. Well done Mr Wood!! Now on to book 3 - 'A Room Full of Killers'.
Michael Wood is a proofreader and former journalist in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. He is the author of the DCI Matilda Darke series set in Sheffield. The third, A ROOM FULL OF KILLERS, will be released in February 2017. A short story prequel, THE FALLEN, is published as an ebook in December 2016 by Killer Reads at HarperCollins.