reviewed by Gail Byrd
Not just a police procedural, not just a psychological thriller, not just a few twists and turns, but all that combined and then put on steroids. That’s the best description I have for One for Sorrow by Helen Fields. This may be the most intense book I’ve ever read, and certainly is the most intense one I’ve read in the recent past.
Not only is there good, solid, police work shown being completed, complete with personality clashes and departmental divides, the psychological tension is enormous; and that’s before you get to the twist that turns the whole thing on its edge.
The beginning of the book establishes two important storylines. Initially there is the police procedural storyline, which starts with a painful view of the coroner’s death, captured on tape, and being viewed by DCI Ava Turner. If you don’t like violent details, you may want to stop here, because this is just the beginning. DCI Turner is immediately drawn into battle with her superior officer over whether she will run the case, a discussion that gets cut short with an urgent call into headquarters requiring available resources to assemble at the scene. The police work and the graphic violence are part and parcel throughout this storyline of the book.
The second part is woven throughout the police procedural and tells the story of a young man who becomes obsessed with a young woman he meets at her place of employment. They begin a slowly developing romance, which feels disconnected from the other part of the book. Thus begins the reader’s introduction into the psychological thriller that awaits them in between periods of policework. At this point the reader either makes a leap of faith based on other information about where this portion of the story is going, or continues to read, perhaps with a suspicion of how the two stories fit together, and hoping they are wrong.
Throughout the book there are revelations about characters, some of whom are familiar to readers of Fields’ other books. These characters are well developed and so succinctly drawn the reader may see them in their mind’s eye or even in unknown strangers they pass on the street. They are distinct, and crisp in their presentation.
It would be a major spoiler to discuss the twists and surprises that exist within this novel, which I choose not to do. I would not want to lessen in even a tiny amount the reader’s enjoyment of the book and the revelations to come. I will say, while some of these turns may be expected and some readers may be braced for the turn, there are at least one or two twists that will come out so unexpected that no reader will be expecting or preparing for them.
This is a stand-alone novel that features some characters who have been central in previous books Fields has written. To determine who, if anyone, will continue to a new book, or whether the series will continue in a different form or not, the reader will simply have to wait for the next book to be released.
Be prepared to sit up late into the night as you read, this is a hard book to put down. While it was a little difficult to get started, that may be because it begins with a gripping narrative that leaves you knowing this is not going to be an easy read. The only question left is how compelling it is going to be. My answer, about as compelling as they come.
I would like to thank Avon Books, UK for providing me with an advanced publication of this novel for review. For anyone who likes complex books, strong characters, gripping action, and people you can care for, this book is for you. This recommendation, along with the other recommendations and observations expressed in this review are entirely my own.
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