Posted in Books I have read

Don’t Turn Around – Caroline Mitchell

Crime Fiction  4*s
Crime Fiction
4*s

This was something a little different for me, a crime book which mixes the paranormal with policing, not perhaps a great choice when many books about ghostly stuff has me closing the book in disgust but there was something about this one that kept me reading right up until the last page.

DC Jennifer Knight is the main protagonist, the one who makes the link between a spate of deaths in Haven, and those investigated by her mother twenty years previously. DC Jennifer Knight doesn’t so much experience visions but she does pick up on things that others don’t and she keeps much of this to herself knowing that her fellow officers are going to be sceptical and at worst she’ll end up being off the job marked down as having a breakdown. The paranormal element of this book coexists with the police investigation but I was relieved to see it isn’t used to ‘come up with the answers’ but it does add an element of thrills as I was never quite sure what this element could be responsible for.

The book is split neatly between past and present, with the past beginning in the mid-sixties with Frank’s mother buying far too much and being given a way to have more, progressing through to the early nineties. Just to prove this isn’t a book that is all quirkiness and no substance, the details set in the past had me feeling nostalgic so perfectly was each time period was handled taking the reader on a tour of Frank’s life. The present is 2006 and Jennifer has a close bond with her nephew Josh although a more distant one with her sister Amy. In the tradition of good crime fiction, Jennifer had a tough start in life one probably not helped by being able to see visions as child, but comes across as a likeable character who suffers with a touch of OCD.

I liked the relationships in this book, especially the supportive nature of Jennifer and her partner Will Dunston, and again the author hit exactly the right note when a younger man Ethan is seconded to the team. Jennifer’s relationship with her boss DI Allison. The interplay of relationships is well-handled throughout this book, including the one that Frank Foster had with the vulnerable Sam in the eighties, the understated way that Sam was drawn into a world that was so far outside his experience just made it all the more chilling.

This is quite a scary book, the author doesn’t overdo the violent scenes but neither do they occur off-page and again the author conjures up the picture of the time of death in a few cleverly wielded sentences. And of course the strands, and there are quite a few of them, wind themselves tighter as we approach the finale, at this point the pace picks up dramatically and caused my heart to beat faster than I would have liked.

A stunning start to a new series that offers something slightly different, another great find by Bookouture who were kind enough to allow me to read a copy of this one for review purposes. Don’t Turn Around was published on 24 April 2015.

Author:

A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

12 thoughts on “Don’t Turn Around – Caroline Mitchell

    1. The problem with paranormal stuff is it can quickly descend into a farce, this book didn’t – it helped that those around the protagonist were sceptical and it therefore felt much more realistic – well worth a try for a different take on the genre.

    1. I usually find them unbelievable and tend to shy away from giving them a fair shot – this one worked which just goes to prove it is good to sometimes pick up something you aren’t quite sure about.

    1. I think it helped that those around Jennifer were sceptical too, it felt far more realistic that way. For once I was keen to see what this element would bring as to how and why the copycat seemed to be able to recreate the past events.

  1. Like a few other commentators here, I’m not generally one to go for the paranormal in a book; I’m really not. But I do like novels that explore connections between past and present crimes. And the characters do sound interesting. Thanks as ever for a fine review, Cleo 🙂

    1. I haven’t but checked him out – funnily enough I think psychic elements in the past would work better for me but generally I steer clear. Thanks for the recommendation as it looks entertaining. Don’t Turn Around was an exception, and one I’m glad I made so maybe I’ll be more open to others now.

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