Author: Helen Fields
Series: D.I. Callanach Book 1
Genre: Crime, Mystery Thriller, Adult
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SYNOPSIS: “On a remote Highland mountain, the body of Elaine Buxton is burning. All that will be left to identify the respected lawyer are her teeth and a fragment of clothing.
In the concealed back room of a house in Edinburgh, the real Elaine Buxton screams into the darkness.
Detective Inspector Beau Callanach has barely set foot in his new office when Elaine’s missing persons case is escalated to a murder investigation. Having left behind a promising career at Interpol, he’s eager to prove himself to his new team. But Edinburgh, he discovers, is a long way from Lyon, and Elaine’s killer has covered his tracks with meticulous care.
It’s not long before another successful woman is abducted from her doorstep, and Callanach finds himself in a race against the clock. Or so he believes … The real fate of the women will prove more twisted than he could have ever imagined.”
DISCLAIMER: I received a paperback edition from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, therefore all written words are an accurate portrayal of my opinions. The review may also contain minor spoilers, so read at your own risk.
This novel has left me disturbed and in complete awe as to how someone could possibly think of this terribly unsettling plotline! When I first picked this up I was hooked by the first page, which resulted in many late nights and early mornings to squeeze in ‘just one more chapter’, which we can all agree never stays with the one!
The protagonist, Luc Callanach starts his new job with Police Scotland after transferring from Paris which is where he lived most of his life. He and his mother moved after his Scottish father had passed away to start their new life without him. Luc is handed a new investigation surrounding the death of a young woman, whose body had been burned so horrifically all that is left are her teeth and a small piece of clothing. While trying to identify the body another women is taken and murdered with seemingly zero correlation in body disposal human characteristics, yet Luc has a gut feeling there is more than what meets the eyes. While he is working on his case a colleague and close friend D.I Ava Turner was handed a case of her own including the dumping and abandonment of newborn babies in a local park. The two become somewhat of a support and offer each other the outside perspective that allows them to successfully solve both of their cases, but not without being pulled into grave danger first.
I just need to start off by saying I absolutely loved Luc and Ava’s friendship! These two clicked instantly and really support each other physically and emotionally. At times I felt that it could increase to romance, but as for now, I love that their platonic friendship has remained! Maybe in the future instalments I would love there to be a little more sexual tension, purely because I think they would be cute together, but I am absolutely content with how it has finished.
I usually have a problem with staying focused and interested during the entirety of a crime novel, but my attention never faulted. I appoint credit to the beautiful craftsmanship of multiple storylines weaved to create the in-depth story. There were chapters written from the murderer’s point of view explaining why he felt the need to kidnap those women, which were personally my favourite. He explained that their soul purpose was to challenge him intellectually and so he could exude power of people as he despised feeling inferior to his supervisors. Then there were alternating chapters from Luc’s point of view focusing on both D.I Turners case and his own (the murderers and disappearances). The thing that made this story so unique is that we knew the identity of the murderer from day dot, and he made his intentions clear the whole time so we could sit back and enjoy the ride while the police force tried to figure it out from themselves. This meant we could celebrate their leads and successes, yet become frustrated when they overlooked the minor details that lead to Dr King; it was a new interactive element to the book that made the story and author distinctive, which I hope she continues with in the future instalments.
All the characters are real. They were crafted and written with such skill that you can relate to every single character on some level. Luc, the hero of the story, suffers from serious and debilitating PTSD from an incident that lead to his transfer. D.I Turner is a strong and successful woman, but she still lets words get to her and her presumption that people are nice until proved otherwise is damaging to her career and safety. You even connect to the villain of the story on a weirdly spiritual level. I found myself really connecting with him as he was always misunderstood because he didn’t follow the cookie cutter model that his colleagues followed, and that really affected him as he wanted nothing more than to be friends with his boss and fellow professors. It truly is rare for a debut author to master these skills immediately, however Fields has pulled it off perfectly!
The one thing I didn’t love about this novel was Luc’s colleague Lively. I understand that he was close to the second murder victim, but the way he acted was atrocious and highly unprofessional. The way he over rid his advisor’s orders and went to people higher in the force was deeply saddening and at times annoying. Although his personal life was shaken to the core, he allowed it to control his professional life making unwarranted and rash decisions to try and make the situation better, but in turn making it worse. Like I said, all the characters were written to have a flaw, but his was overpowering and dampened my opinion of him. Hopefully, he will still be around in the future to redeem himself!
The level of planning every single detail that this author has put in is extraordinary, which is why this novel was such a success! From the very beginning, every minor detail in the crime scenes became relevant later and lead to the crew finding King and his hostages. The entire story was a whirlwind; from the first page, you are thrown into this deeply disturbing and highly addictive adventure. I have very high hopes for her future novels and I guarantee I will pick them up, and they are destined to be just as fantastic! I can’t wait to see what Luc and Ava will have to solve next but I hope it’s equally as terrifying!
Are you going to pick this up, or have you already read it? Leave me a comment down below because I’m definitely interested in hearing your thoughts! I hope you enjoyed and I’ll see you next time