This post is going to be updated as and when I read the next thrillers in the series, but today I’m starting with the first 2! I highly recommend this series – Cara Hunter is a talented English author and her books are both deliciously comforting and unsettling. Continued below…
#1: Close to Home
Close to Home is the first thriller in the DI Adam Fawley series. The synopsis is that a young girl goes missing from a party and this detective is called in to investigate because everyone says they saw nothing, but that can’t be possible, so he’s their best bet in figuring out the truth.
As a reader, when you get introduced to a long-standing character, especially a detective, you want to build a relationship with them. You want to like them as if they were a real person. Feeling their thoughts, their decisions, their frustrations; you want to trust them, rely on them. From the other side of the pages you are willing them on to solve the case, but also hoping they come out of any scrapes unharmed; you form this sentimental attachment to the character. And it’s no bad thing, especially in this example of DI Fawley.
You get the immediate impression that he must have a background with missing children, but there’s a lot more to it than that. He’s a great character with a well-rounded personality, naturally with his own internal battles of ghosts and demons, but handled with appropriate sensitivity. He’s grounded and, dare I say it, just seems like a “normal bloke”, but it increases his relatability to the average reader. The author has planned and thought-out this book with an amazing sense of familiarity and “normalness”, so DI Fawley fits in perfectly.
This book has unique interjections throughout, as well as timeline jumps, which both help with the sense this book is almost set in “real-time”. The way it feels like you are inside the police investigation chronologically, but also flashbacks, then in the present with social media updates – this book has great atmosphere and pace to it.
The actual story-line of this book explores a few avenues and I like that it doesn’t jump around too much, which I feel can be disorientating to follow, but in this instance it works well to simulate how new leads in a case do spring up, and also the reality that it’s unlikely to be cut and dried. It’s rarely simple. And also, not everything is what it seems. Especially the twists… you really won’t see them coming! – GJ
#2: In the Dark
In the Dark is the second book in the DI Fawley Thriller Series and I’m not ashamed to say I stalked the publish date to ensure I could get my hands on a copy as soon as it arrived in stores! I loved the atypical ending to #1 in the series “Close to Home” and it really spurred me on to read the next book to see what else the author can come up with.
So, a summary for the blurb of “In the Dark” is that a mute woman and child are found in a confused elderly man’s basement and no-one has an idea who they are or how they got there. DI Fawley is tasked to unravel the circumstances around how they came to be there and what the real sequence of events is, and boy oh boy you are in for a ride. Honestly, this book will shock you to your very core. You just don’t know what to believe (partly because you don’t want to believe that what you’re reading is possible) and this disturbing cases raises big questions over the definition of what constitutes a “victim”.
I enjoyed the cold case aspect in this book too; refreshing to read a different format to #1. I was hoping that whilst these books share the same lead characters, I didn’t want them to become samey and predictable. Don’t get me wrong; “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”, so if an author gets a good thing going then it doesn’t need to be changed up, but I did welcome this new and different approach from Cara Hunter and I wonder what book #3 and #4 will be set out like.
Versatility is important when developing a detective character and keeping the reader engaged across all aspects of the story. The actual ‘crime’ needs to grip you, and also the background of the characters to ensure we keep coming back for the next installment. Not only are detectives battling for justice in victims’ lives, but they have to balance their own as well; there are some sections in this book that really show you insight into the policing world, and I like this realism – you get the impression the author has really spent time observing “the typical English copper” because it feels authentic. You could imagine it as an episode of infamous Morse; the Oxford setting a pinnacle of English crime drama.
I know I’ve probably talked more about the characters in this review more so that the plot of this book but I am just so reluctant to give anything away! I did not see the twists coming at all – they’ll completely blindside you and make you wince! Gosh, you feel yourself turning your head away from the page and reading some parts out the corner of your eye because you think it might make it a little easier to absorb the words. But no. It’s still awfully haunting, uncomfortable and may make you squirm in your seat and lose a little sleep, but it’s worth it!
I cannot wait to purchase and read #3: No Way Out and #4: All the Rage. My “To Be Read” list is increasing day by day! Hmm… I wonder if I can take a shopping trolley in to Waterstones…? – GJ