I first discovered Rachel Abbott (and DCI Tom Douglas) a couple of years ago. Right Behind You is my sixth of her novels and in my humble opinion the best and most exciting. We have been following Tom for a long time now and his backstory has moved forwards a lot. His teenage daughter lives with him and Louisa – the latter of whom is heavily pregnant. His ex-wife Kate (a right cow) is about to marry someone she met five minutes ago and drag them all off to Australia. And then there’s brother Jack. We all thought he was dead for ages (including Tom). In fact he’s in hiding with his family because of his involvement in tracking down a criminal gang though his involvement was a bit dodgy – and illegal. I missed the book where this happens so don’t know much more.
But now to the main story. Jo is happily at home with wonderful, perfect doctor husband Ash (the love of her life) and beloved daughter Molly. All is tickety-boo until there is a knock at the door. Ash is arrested by two police officers and taken away in handcuffs for abusing his step-daughter. Forgot to mention he’s not her real father. Then a man and a woman arrive and say they are from Social Services and need to take Molly to a place of safety to question her about the abuse. Jo can’t go with them. Suspicious I hear you say. They will bring her back very soon but of course they don’t and the nightmare begins. Jo goes to the police and Tom and sidekick Becky become involved. In the meantime a gang boss is murdered in prison. Is there a connection? Jo starts to doubt her perfect husband. In the words of the just departed Terry Jones of Monty Python fame Ash ‘…is not the Messiah – (in fact) he’s a very naughty boy’. (Sorry couldn’t resist – RIP Terry.) But does that make Ash an abuser? No spoilers here. Just read it. I read it in two sittings. I just couldn’t put it down. You can read it as a standalone as Rachel explains bits of the background as we go along but it’s obviously better if you have read some of the others at least.
If you are wondering why I gave this book four stars instead of five I will endeavour to explain. Close to Home was the first and it was fab. As well as finding out the truth about what happened to Daisy, we also learnt about the police officers and detectives – Adam Fawley of course, Gislingham, Quinn, Everett and Somer plus a few others less ‘important’. In book 2 In The Dark, we had another crime to solve but also more intrigue amongst the officers and more reveals of their relationships and back stories. But it was Book 3 No Way Out that was the real crescendo – the best story yet plus more about the main protagonists. So Book 4 was always going to be doomed to fade in comparison. I’m not saying it wasn’t good – it was – but we learn very little more about Gislingham, Quinn, Everett and Somer and what we learn about Fawley is more about his wife. Also the plotline wasn’t quite as gripping for me. However, I am still looking forward to Book 5. One thing that was really impressive about the four books is that looking back they didn’t blend into one another as so many series often do.
This book was even more stunning than the last two. I devoured it in two sittings. It was so emotional what with the death of the first child and then wondering whether Matty would survive. Where were the parents? Some of the fire scenes were very upsetting (I have always hated the idea of people dying in a fire since I was a child – I suppose everyone does but it became a bit of a phobia so I don’t like to read about it). The backstory was a really good way of telling us what happened as there were things the police would never know. We even think that Matty might have been involved because of his jealousy of little Zachary (no spoilers but we realise that this is just bravado). At one stage I had to ask my son (he’s 33) if he had ever played Minecraft – I can’t believe kids play this stuff. Now I can’t wait to read the next novel in the series.
Another brilliant book from Cara Hunter. I started this book the night before last but then I had a day off work and I literally just sat at home and read to the end. So intricately put together and I love the way the detectives and PCs are growing in character. After a while you start to question everyone and everything. Who is lying? Who is telling the truth? Is anyone telling the truth? Who really are the victims here? I can’t wait to read the next in the series No Way Out. In fact I’ve just purchased it for my Kindle.
This is the first time I’ve given five stars to a book in ages but Close To Home is worth every star. It was absolutely riveting. I read it with The Pigeonhole (many thanks to them and to my fellow Pigeons and Cara who was commenting along with us). I rarely give five stars to any detective novel but this was something else. On a couple of occasions I stayed up till midnight to get the following day’s stave – including the final part. The ending was unexpected but I can’t say more because that would give away spoilers. Poor Adam and Alex (their back story) and poor Leo is all I’m going to say. You never know who’s innocent and who’s guilty but Barry and Sharon are ghastly though I’m not sure Sharon deserves everything that’s coming to her. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.