A darkly compelling debut crime novel. The start of a brilliant series, perfect for fans of Stuart MacBride, Val McDermid, and James Oswald.
DCI Matilda Darke has returned to work after a nine month absence. A shadow of her former self, she is tasked with re-opening a cold case: the terrifyingly brutal murders of Miranda and Stefan Harkness. The only witness was their eleven-year-old son, Jonathan, who was too deeply traumatized to speak a word.
Then a dead body is discovered, and the investigation leads back to Matilda's case. Suddenly the past and present converge, and it seems a killer may have come back for more…
After reading so many positive comments about this book, I wanted to verify whether all the hype surrounding it is justified. Now that I have finished it I can only ADD to that hype! This is the kind of book that grabs you by the throat from the very first chapter and doesn't let you breathe till you have turned the last page. Even though this is Michael Wood's debut novel, I was impressed by his excellent writing. This really IS a great crime thriller!
Back at South Yorkshire Police station after a long absence, DCI Matilda Darke is immediately handed over a twenty-year-old cold case to solve, a case that back then had horrified an entire community, baffled the police and was never solved - the infamous Harkness murder case.
Miranda and Stefan Harkness, a well-known couple, were butchered in their bedroom in front of their eleven-year-old son Jonathan who was left mute with the shock he experienced. With many possible suspects and no leads, the inquiry soon hit a brick wall. Who had murdered the power couple? - that was the million dollar question. Can Miranda ever solve this case after twenty years?
Suddenly another murder takes place and a link to the old Harkness case immediately raises serious questions. Is it possible that the same killer has struck again after all this time? Why was this person murdered? And is it just a coincidence that this happened now, while the original case is being reviewed?
This book is very intriguing and I really enjoyed it. I practically loved everything about it: the highly attractive cover, the intricately woven plot, the general setting, the realistic dialogue and the interesting characters (especially Matilda Darke whom I added to my 'favourite fictional characters list'). The author did a fantastic job in putting into words the shock, the internal turmoil and mental stress experienced by certain characters like Miranda and Jonathan. I could almost feel their pain and anguish.
The book made me feel all sorts of emotions. I felt sorrow, fear, hate. On occasions I even laughed and at one point I felt so sad and upset because of a sudden tragic twist, that I wanted to cry and throw the kindle against the wall. Why?? Why has this happened now? It's so unjust and cruel!!
This is a book that I highly recommend and that I've marked as 'to reread' as I definitely want to go through it again in the near future and I'll surely be on the lookout for more books penned by this talented author.
With thanks to HarperCollins UK and Netgalley for approving my request to read this book in exchange of an honest review and to the author for involving me in the blog tour of this fantastic book.
Michael Wood is a freelance journalist and proofreader living in Sheffield. As a journalist he has covered many crime stories throughout Sheffield, gaining first-hand knowledge of police procedure. He also reviews books for CrimeSquad, a website dedicated to crime fiction.