John Parker is a Graduate-qualified English/Spanish Teacher, owner and director of CHAT ENGLISH, an English Language Centre in Avilés on the north coast of Spain . A voracious reader, he has particularly loved horror fiction for many years.
We begin on a fresh, crisp autumn morning on the outskirts of Southampton. Probation officer Sonia Smalling is on her way to work in her car when she comes across a motorbike accident. A frantic young woman flags her down asking for help as her boyfriend, the driver of the motorbike, lies sprawled on the road seemingly the victim of a bad crash.
But it is a trap and Sonia becomes the first murder victim in a killing spree that will have Helen and her team racing against time as they seek to trap the perpetrators of some shocking acts of violence.
Meanwhile, Helen’s nemesis, a much-chastened Emilia Garanita, is back working for the local newspaper, The Southampton Evening News, having been dropped like a hot potato by both the broadsheets and the tabloids in London where she had so desperately wanted to be, after the events that transpired in Arlidge’s previous novel, Hide and Seek. Not only that, but DS Joanne Sanderson is feeling frozen out by Helen, again, due to what happened in the previous book. With Sanderson determined to prove her worth to Helen once more and Emilia determined to get back to the top of the game by any means possible, plus what appear to be random shootings in the city, DI Grace is about to have a day she will long remember. And so is Emilia, actually.
Once again Arlidge produces a great little thriller, the majority of which takes place in the space of less than twenty-four hours. As is typical of this author, the chapters are short and punchy; long enough to lay out the situation or the thoughts of a character but not so long that they slow the action down. The usual characters are all here with the exception of the loathsome Detective Superintendent Jonathan Gardam, Helen’s old boss.
The author’s prose is crisp and economical. Those who want to read something deep and thought-provoking may be disappointed and should look elsewhere but if you like an occasional read-it-in-one-sitting type novel than this is for you.
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