This book showed me that I just do not read enough crime/detective fiction. I was hopelessly hooked on this story and it made me feel a real physical hunger for the truth!
The fact that I have not yet read the other books in this series did not affect my reading or enjoyment of this book one bit – it is a fantastic story in and of itself.
Dawn Prentice was already known to the Peterborough Hate Crimes Unit. The previous summer she had logged a number of calls detailing the harassment she and her severely disabled teenage daughter were undergoing. Now she is dead – stabbed to death whilst Holly Prentice has been left to starve upstairs. DS Ferreira, only recently back on the force after being severely injured in the line of duty, had met with Dawn that summer. Was she negligent in not taking Dawn’s accusations more seriously? Did the murderer even know that Holly was helpless upstairs while her mother bled to death?
This book is so topical – not only does it deal with the ongoing stigma of disability, but it also explores the ever-increasing problem of harassment on social media and online. It brings detective fiction into the 21st century with a powerful impact and sucks the reader in helplessly until you can do nothing but binge-read it to the end!
I honestly had absolutely no idea who the killer would be right until it was revealed: Eva Dolan carries you with DI Zigic and DS Ferreira down every avenue of enquiry and each one is tense, full of mystery and intrigue. The expert language grips you; makes crime scenes so vivid and creates such real and convincing characters that it feels like you’re inside the village itself and on edge about who the real killer could be. Each suspect – an anti-euthanasia activist; a young, rejected and angry teenaged boy; a frustrated ex-husband and his new wife; a string of casual lovers – has a motive so convincing that it’s difficult to know what you believe. The introduction of each new and relevant piece of evidence is so subtle that when it all slots into place it really makes you realise how talented a crime writer Eva Dolan is.
As well as all of this, I have already developed a strong loyalty and love for the main characters, DI Zigic and DS Ferreira. Learning about their pasts in the book and the contrast of their personal problems adds a whole new fascinating dimension to the novel. I will definitely be going back to read the beginning of this series. A job really, really well done.