She looked at the smiling, eager face of the little girl in the photograph, with dark hair, bright-green eyes, a missing front tooth, and her entire life ahead of her. Chelsea was last seen walking back from a friend’s house one summer afternoon. She never made it home…
An eight-year-old girl, Chelsea Compton, is missing in Pine Valley, California and for Detective Katie Scott it’s a cruel reminder of the friend who disappeared from summer camp twenty years ago. Unable to shake the memories, Katie vows she won’t rest until she discovers what happened to Chelsea.
But as Katie starts to investigate – her PTSD flashbacks kept at bay with the help of her loyal ex-military dog, Cisco – the case reveals itself to be much bigger and more shocking than she feared. Deep in the forest, she unearths a makeshift cemetery: a row of graves, each with a brightly coloured teddy bear.
Tracing the silk lining the coffins, Katie links the graves to a stack of missing-persons cases involving young girls – finding a pattern no one else has managed to see. Someone in Pine Valley has been taking the town’s daughters for years, and Katie is the only one who can stop them.
And then another little girl goes missing, snatched from the park near her home…
Kindle | 316 pages
Publisher: Bookouture (31st May, 2019)
Intriguing. Exciting. Gripping. I’ve paused on chapter 8, to give my first impressions. I’ll admit that the lure of this book came immediately from the book cover, upon closer inspection of the blurb, and the allowance to read the prequel and first chapter, I decided this was something I wanted to read. Right off the bat I knew I had stumbled across something great. Katie feels like a character with a lot of potential. Her past in the army and her return to home speaks of a strong character with battle scars and a history that is still being worked through. I’ve already read one pov of the killer/culprit and am impressed by how little information was given in a space that still felt revealing and gripping.
I found this an easy read. The only thing that niggled with me was that the chapters ended abruptly, and the chapters began sharply. It always jolted me out of what I was reading, and I felt it lacked that smooth flow between chapters.
Katie’s great, I can see a lot of potential with her character and based off where we meet her at the beginning of the book, I have a lot of promise in her character getting a good arch through the series.
Ahh Detective Templeton! Can’t have a female lead in a detective crime novel without there being tension with a fellow Detective! I felt that the introduction to Templeton was a little predictable, I could see the set up happening between the two characters before it had started.
Sometimes I get irritated at being introduced to a character who already has a history at the beginning of a novel. It sometimes grates on me and I find it difficult to understand and connect to a character who has formed away from the book. However, I found myself pleasantly surprised with Katie here, who, although already has a fleshed-out backstory, I felt I was seeing her enter a new phase in life where I could still see her character and connect to her story.
Deputy McGaven. Strong and silent. Grumpy. Embarrassed. I do hope he becomes a staple at Katie’s side. I think the two characters work well together. There is potential there for a variety of avenues to be explored. I don’t even know what I want the characters to be, I just know I want to see them together in a story again.
Not sure how I feel about Chad, part of me likes him while the other part of me resents the fact that he already has a backstory with Katie – weird right?
Easy to visualize but I had trouble visualizing the characters. It took me half the book to be able to visualize them with any sense of clarity. The scenes were well described and easy to visualize and imagine.
The concept of the killer and how methodical they were, creeped me out the longer I read the book. I found their actions to be really sinister, breeching into a territory that I usually stay away from. – Give me a book about murder, a psychological thriller or serial killer any day! Involve children or animals and it’s a fine line into territory I will not enter.
There were many aspects in this book that drew my focus and allowed for the bigger crime to go unchallenged for so long. Many aspects were pulling my focus and it allowed me to keep guessing about who the culprit was and to which characters I wanted to route for.
For the last ten chapters of the book, I had a slightly sick anxiety feeling as the action became more pronounced and the chase to the climax began. I will say that I was dead set on who I thought had been the guilty party and I’m not sure whether it was from misdirection in the book, or whether I had latched onto an idea that I didn’t want to forget. Either way, I was wrong in my theory and actually, the real culprit stumped me for a bit. The ending neatly ties up loose ends and sets a path up for the rest of the series, but I found myself feeling disappointed at who the culprit was because it wasn’t someone I felt I had adequate time to get to know.
I found that this book when up and down in enjoyment. Some bits were super interesting and held my attention quite well, but I also found parts of the book to be slow and struggled to focus my attention of those bits. I enjoyed the chapters from the killers POV, I always feel that books that offer that focus allow me to imagine a clearer picture of the killer and it allows me to form my own opinions of them, rather than having to rely on the thoughts of others.
This wasn’t a quick read for me. I didn’t finish it in a couple of hours or an afternoon. I read a couple of chapters a day for over a week. I’m not sure if this style hinder my reading or allowed me to be more unfocused when reading or not. I feel this book lacked the intensity that makes me read at an alarming pace.
I still found it interesting. At around 59%, I felt I was fully invested in what I was reading, and the characters finally became interesting to me.
I did feel like this book had an unnecessary number of chapters in it. I’ve noticed this a lot recently. That books around 300-400 pages seem to have over 60 chapters. Perhaps this is a personal annoyance to me only, but I prefer longer chapters over many shorter ones. I know when I write, that I prefer to write longer chapters.