My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is my first book by Caroline Mitchell but I don’t think it’ll be my last.
While I had some doubts about certain aspects of the story and the characters it’s an exciting police procedural with plenty of action and twists that will keep you turning those pages till the very end. I do love a detective story with an interesting lead and DS Ruby Preston is most definitely that.
Blurb (from GoodReads)
‘I’m not your mother. You’re a monster. I don’t want you’
Women who gave a child up for adoption are being killed. A knock at their front door begins a nightmare from which they will never wake up.
For Detective Ruby Preston and her team, it is a race against time to connect the dots before the killer can strike again. But when Ruby receives a sinister email, the case takes a terrifying personal twist.
Could the clues to the identity of the killer lie in Ruby’s own past?
Who can she trust with her secrets?
And could Ruby be next?
This was another book I spotted on NetGalley and requested due to a combination of the cover and an intriguing blurb. I’m always looking for a good crime thriller and the premise of this definitely sounded interesting. A killer who’s targeting women who’ve given up a child for adoption in the hopes of finding their mother and getting the reunion and happily ever after they’ve always dreamed of. It’s not a plot I’ve come across before.
I got off to a little bit of a shaky start with it but it definitely grew on me over the course of the story and it’s kind of left me wanting to read the next in this series. It’s told mostly from two points of view, the killer “Lucy”, and Detective Sergeant Ruby Preston who lands the case. This means we get a glimpse into the mind of the killer and also the process and procedures in solving the case and tracking down the murderer.
I’m a big fan of this type of narrative as I love seeing inside the mind of the killer but for me this was the one aspect of the story that really didn’t work. I felt like “Lucy” was just too over the top and stereotyped to be believable. She seemed to be a raving psychopath with absolutely no redeeming features that would make you empathize with her and personally I like a killer who’s at least in some ways relateable (it actually makes them more realistic and for me, scarier). It is a who-dunit so you don’t learn the identity of the killer till the very end but while it came as a complete surprise it just didn’t make sense to me and I felt it was rushed and therefore light on explanation.
Main character Ruby didn’t start out much better for me either. She drinks too much, is sleeping with a colleague and there was something very hard about her that makes her a difficult character to like. She does however evolve over the course of the book and as her past is revealed I did come to like her that little bit more. I’m still not entirely sold but she does make for an intriguing character and I’ll be interested to see how she develops in the next book.
I think what actually made this book for me however was the complicated relationship between Ruby and her ex Nathan. There was just something really compelling about it and Nathan became probably my favorite character in the book.
It is a pretty fast paced and gripping read and at points I was completely hooked. I read a big chunk of it while sitting in the garage waiting on my car being serviced. There was music playing, a TV blaring, people talking and walking around but none of that penetrated the reading bubble I somehow found myself in.
Overall therefore, despite some reservations about certain characters and aspects of the plot I would recommend and I will definitely be keeping watch for the next book in the series. I want to know what happens next.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with an ARC. As always all views are my own.