Ally is a crime scene investigator who worked with the major investigations team. However, after exposing internal corruption, the remaining officers refused to work with her so she is sent to North Devon working petty crime scenes. When a body is found in a seaside town, Ally’s help is requested. However, when evidence she turns up contradicts the lead detective’s instincts, no one will listen to her. Who is right? Will the real killer be caught?
Ally is a single mom with a fifteen-year-old daughter and faces balancing her work and family life and all of the turmoil and guilt that entails. Her commitment to justice is admirable, but the way she goes about it tends to jeopardize her relationships with nearly everyone. Additionally, she has a hard time controlling her anger. Surely someone will listen to her, won’t they? While Ally’s character has depth, I failed to see any character growth. The other characters are a mix of likeable, objectionable, obnoxious, and disturbing individuals.
This is a debut novel for the author and it certainly makes an impact. It is well-written and fluid which makes the story flow well. An intricate plot creates tension and uneasiness as the story unfolds. There’s a strong sense of place that easily transports readers to the seaside town of Bidecombe with its cliffs, trails, woods, and beach. Having a CSI as a main character provides a different perspective to an investigation.
The story is part investigation and part character analysis. The conflict is seen from different angles as readers get insight from both Ally and the antagonist. It has a terrifying realism to it and makes for very uncomfortable reading at times. The final action scenes are riveting and disturbingly memorable, but felt unrealistic and out of character.
My biggest quibble relates to how early readers learn the identity of the killer. This took away a lot of the mystery that could have added to the suspense. Themes include murder, violence, domestic violence, police corruption, family relationships, friendship, treatment of whistleblowers, and much more.
Overall, this was suspenseful, unsettling, and with unique characters that kept me turning the pages. With a heart-rending plot and fascinating story, readers of psychological thrillers will likely enjoy it. This is a good start to a series and I’m looking forward to reading more about Ally, her future assignments, and her relationships.
HQ, an imprint of HarperCollins UK and T. Orr Munro provided a complimentary digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley. This is my honest review. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way. Publication date is currently set for April 14, 2022.