It was the happiest day of her life. Little did she know it was also the last.
When a woman’s body is found in the grounds of a ruined priory, Detective Imogen Evans realises she is dealing with a serial killer—a killer whose victims appear to die in a state of bliss, eyes open, smiles forever frozen on their faces.
A few miles away, single dad Ben Hofland believes his fortunes are changing at last. Forced to move back to the sleepy village where he grew up following the breakdown of his marriage, Ben finally finds work. What’s more, the bullies who have been terrorising his son, Ollie, disappear. For the first time in months, Ben feels lucky.
But he is unaware that someone is watching him and Ollie. Someone who wants nothing but happiness for Ben.
Okay, stone me!! I'm ashamed to say that even though I have a number of books written by Mark Edwards, I've never read any of them. However, recently I was lucky enough to win a copy of his latest one 'The Lucky Ones' in a Facebook competition, and as soon as I started reading it, I just knew... this would be a cracking thriller.
"She looked like she was smiling. Like she died happy."
A serial killer, dubbed the Shropshire Viper, is terrifying the sleepy towns and villages of Shropshire. His third and latest victim is a woman, found dead in a ruined priory. Like the others, this victim shows no signs of violence and appears to be serene, gazing at the sky... and smiling.
DI Imogen Evans, transferred from the London MET to Shrewsbury to investigate these murders, rushes to the scene with her partner DS Emma Stockwell. But again, with no apparent forensic evidence, leads or clues left by the killer, Imogen has to think outside the box. She needs to dig into the lives of the victims and find some link between them that might lead her to the killer. But what? How does the Viper select his victims? The answer to that question lies buried deep in the warped mind of the killer.
Having just separated from his cheating wife, Ben leaves everything behind him in London and returns to his hometown of Shropshire with his son Ollie. Without a job he's struggling to make ends meet and is finding it difficult to deal with his moody eleven-year-old son. However, all of a sudden his luck turns around. Someone offers him a job and his son seems happier. At last Ben feels lucky. But should he thank his lucky stars for what's happening? Or is something sinister at play here?
In this book the author has come up with a completely new and original concept, a paradox... Lucky, happy murder victims!! What? That's right, but you need to read the book to understand what I mean. I think it's a fantastic idea.
The Lucky Ones is an engrossing, tense, well-written serial killer thriller that kept me on my toes and glued to my kindle. Chapters alternate between the point of view of Imogen and Ben, but we also have the odd chilling one from the pov of the killer as he stalks his next 'lucky' victim.
All characters and dialogue are very realistic. I like Imogen Evans. She's a force to be reckoned with. Through the author's description I could clearly imagine her, attracting glances anywhere she goes thanks to her beautiful, voluminous flame-red hair and bright blue eyes. She's tough and feisty but hides a sad, lonely persona. I wish the author features her again in future books as she would be perfect as central character in a series. I also liked and sympathised with Ben, this exasperated father and cheated husband. I feared for him and Ollie.
The last part, the culmination of a frenetic cat-and-mouse game, had me bite my knuckles. Even though I tried to guess and reason things out, to find out who it might be, I was clueless till the end. I could never have guessed who the killer was and their identity came up as a complete surprise. Well done!
This was my first Mark Edwards read, but it certainly won't be my last and I definitely highly recommend it!
Mark Edwards writes psychological thrillers in which scary things happen to ordinary people, and is inspired by writers such as Stephen King, Ira Levin, Ruth Rendell and Linwood Barclay.
He is the author of four #1 bestsellers: Follow You Home (a finalist in the Goodreads Choice Awards 2015), The Magpies, Because She Loves Me, and The Devil’s Work, along with What You Wish For and six novels co-written with Louise Voss. All of his books are inspired by real-life experiences.
Originally from the south coast of England, Mark now lives in the West Midlands with his wife, their three children, a ginger cat, and a golden retriever.
Mark loves hearing from readers and can be contacted via his website, www.markedwardsauthor.com.