Having enjoyed The Fall I was intrigued to see how Claire McGowan would move from a stand-alone novel to the building of a new series based around a forensic psychiatrist Paula Maguire; the answer is skilfully with aplomb
Paula returns to her childhood home in Northern Ireland in her professional capacity as an expert in missing persons when two teenage girls go missing in her small hometown of Ballyterrin. Joining the local police Paula’s expertise is needed although the team seem suspicious of her and her theories. The search quickly widens when it a possible link is made to another two girls who went missing from the same town some 25 years previously. Paula has her own demons to conquer, her own mother is still missing after disappearing years ago and Aiden her nemesis is now the editor of the local paper.
The strands of the story are skilfully spun weaving through theories and plenty dubious characters to find out what happened to the girls and why. Claire McGowan handles characterisation very well with believable yet flawed characters. The plot moves quickly to make this an enjoyable read, the only downside for me was the emphasis on the Irish problems which at times seemed to intrude on the story. I will certainly be interested the next book in this series.
I received this book from the Amazon Vine Programme
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Charlotte comes to on the floor of a toilet realising that she had lost everything, what had happened to cause her to reach rock bottom? Charlotte has been busy planning her very expensive wedding when her life is turned upside down. Keisha meanwhile is trying to persuade a Social Worker that she should have her daughter returned to her and her boyfriend Chris. One night Charlotte and Keisha’s lives collide.
This book is really fresh, it is a crime novel but from the viewpoint of those on the outside. Supporting characters have never been so important as the story is told from both Keisha’s and Charlotte’s viewpoints. Their characters develop and although they come from very different backgrounds, they both struggle to overcome their weaknesses. The relationship between them is intriguing, as is the relationship between Hegarty, the Policeman, and Charlotte. All the characters in this book are finely drawn, they are engaging, so much so I read this book full of concern for both Charlotte and Keisha rather than the police procedural mystery element.
Claire McGowan has written a book that drags you into the story from the first page and produced a great debut novel.