He spots the two girls through the cracked screen of beech, sycamore and leg-scratching gorse: a flash of red skirt and a unison of giggles . . . The smaller girl sees him first and she lets out a strange little squeak and jumps back, grabbing onto the other girl’s T-shirt, revealing a flash of milky white shoulder.
Something happened to Claire and Jo in Black Wood: something that left Claire paralysed and Jo with deep mental scars. But with Claire suffering memory loss and no evidence to be found, nobody believes Jo’s story.
Twenty-three years later, a familiar face walks into the bookshop where Jo works, dredging up painful memories and rekindling her desire for vengeance. And at the same time, Sergeant David Gray is investigating a balaclava-clad man who is attacking women on a disused railway, shocking the sleepy village of Banktoun. But what is the connection between Jo’s visitor and the masked man?
To catch the assailant, and to give Jo her long-awaited justice, Gray must unravel a tangled web of past secrets, broken friendship and tainted love. But can he crack the case before Jo finds herself with blood on her hands?
I had been waiting to read this book ever since I knew it was going to be published so was excited to finally start reading it and the book did not disappoint as I’ve found a new favourite author.
Jo and Claire were young girls when something happened to them after a trip to the woods that left Claire in a coma and then a wheelchair and Jo with terrible memories that haunt her and seem to stop her from living her life fully. They live in a little town called Banktoun, Scotland where everyone seems to know each other which leaves quite a claustrophobic atmosphere. Into Banktoun walks Gareth Maloney and the sight of his face sets Jo off onto a journey into the past for her to finally discover what happened that day. She enlists the help of the local policeman Sergeant Davie Grey (who was depicted as a warm, empathetic man who genuinely wanted to help the people of the town) who is also investigating a series of attacks on young girls in the town which could somehow be related to the attacks on Jo and Claire.
The story is very cleverly narrated by various characters which acts as a kind of kaleidoscope for the reader as they are given several versions of the same events which adds to the full picture, the ending of which came as a complete surprise to me. After having recently read a few thrillers which had disappointed me in some way, I am pleased to say that this book didn’t – I was completely shocked by the ending and although the pace wasn’t as fast as others I’ve read, the slow, intricate build-up of this story was ultimately more satisfying.
I would highly recommend this book as it is an involving and intriguing read that highlights the fact that even in quiet, unsuspecting communities, there can be far more going on than it first appears. I am hoping also for more books featuring the wonderful Sergeant Grey, I’d like to know more about him. This is definitely an author going on my to watch list.