Length: 434 pages
Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book
What they say: The hole they dug was not deep. A white flour bag encased the little body. Three small faces watched from the window, eyes black with terror.
The child in the middle spoke without turning his head. ‘I wonder which one of us will be next?’
When a woman’s body is discovered in a cathedral and hours later a young man is found hanging from a tree outside his home, Detective Lottie Parker is called in to lead the investigation. Both bodies have the same distinctive tattoo clumsily inscribed on their legs. It’s clear the pair are connected, but how?
The trail leads Lottie to St Angela’s, a former children’s home, with a dark connection to her own family history. Suddenly the case just got personal.
As Lottie begins to link the current victims to unsolved murders decades old, two teenage boys go missing. She must close in on the killer before they strike again, but in doing so is she putting her own children in terrifying danger?
Lottie is about to come face to face with a twisted soul who has a very warped idea of justice.
Fans of Rachel Abbott, Karin Slaughter and Robert Dugoni will be gripped by this page-turning serial killer thriller, guaranteed to keep you reading late into the night.
The Review: I read a review quite a while ago from a blogger who gushed about an author who lived in her locality, saying that everything was a billion times more real because she knew she lived in the area that the book was loosely based around. I remember thinking how great that would be, but, being outside the box in terms of irish fiction (romantic comedies and thrillers are most definitely trumped here by literary fiction that I can’t always get my head around), I didn’t think it would ever happen. And then it did! One day, I was speaking to my son’s teacher, and she mentioned that a friend of hers had gotten a major book deal. She said that she was with a publisher that was different to other publishers, but were huge. That evening our internet was down (this was back in the day of our non existing internet, before we moved house), and I totally forgot about it until she asked me was I going to the book launch and that’s when I went googling and oh my word!
‘She’s with Bookouture!!’ I squealed at her when I met her the following day. The poor lady just nodded and I began to gush about how much I ADORED Bookouture and how they’d put out some of the best books for me of the past few years. I then gushed about her friend (Ms. Gibney), who I’d seen on Twitter and the fact that she was writing thrillers. A writer from westmeath putting out thrillers! The gushing continued at home, where I’m sure my husband wanted to stuff his fingers in his ears and sing ‘la, la, la, la, la’ until I left the room. I downloaded the first two of her books and requested the third and a few days later headed over to her book launch for ‘The Stolen Girls,’ where I bought it as a beautiful paperback, which I will share pics of with you when I get to it (very soon). So I’ll leave the lead in at this, amazing author with amazing publisher puts out an amazing book and it’s supposedly set around here, but with the name Ragmullin (not Mullingar, isn’t that ingenious?!) Okay. I’m stopping. Honest.
So we start off with a dark prologue that features a group of children seeing things that they cannot and should not get their heads around. I have to admit that already I was so shocked that I nearly forgot to highlight. Then there’s the meeting of a lady with someone from her past in a cathedral and a murder (this sounds so wrong but I have to admit I loved the modern twist in terms of the murder weapon!). Actually as an aside I have to admit when I heard that it was largely based around the catholic church my heart lurched a little. Ireland has a horrifically sordid past in terms of how mothers and children were treated, and I think it’s one of the most tawdry and wrong in the world and I have to admit there’s times I wonder how we don’t hang our heads more but then saying that I do try to go to mass when I can (I’m a cherry picker Catholic if you will, sorry if that offends people, but I choose to go by the nicer parts of catholicism, those that are inclusive and teach being nice, helpful and loving, and disapprove of anything that isn’t fair on people or that excludes people for any reason). Takes breath (yes I know this is an odd review, I’m sorry, I’ll get back to it now!!!).
So DI Lottie Parker has been called to investigate. I loved her straight away and, as the book unfolded, enjoyed finding out about her family life, which is tough going, the kids have lost their father and the love of Lottie’s life, Adam, and she’s struggling to cope. The kids were lovely, Lottie was real and I loved reading about their family life as much as the case, which is something that always draws me in and keeps my eyes flying over the screen. Then there was the dynamics of the station, and her colleagues was brilliantly done (I have to admit I truly hearted Boyd, who was by her side when she needed him).
This book is enshrouded in dark and mystery, with shifty, weak characters, and terrifyingly sinister looming figures that fill you with dread. It jumps between past at St Angel’s children’s home and present, shocks and makes you grimace. It is not always outwardly graphic(sometimes it is), but gives you enough to leave imagery in your head that shouldn’t be there. It is a memorably book for me, not just because of it’s origins, but because it’s probably one of the most unputdownable books I’ve read since I’ve started blogging. Beyond recommended and cannot wait to get to the next of this series.