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The Lucky Ones by Mark Edwards

June 11, 2017

 

It was the happiest day of her life. Little did she know it was also the last.

When a woman’s body is found in the grounds of a ruined priory, Detective Imogen Evans realises she is dealing with a serial killer—a killer whose victims appear to die in a state of bliss, eyes open, smiles forever frozen on their faces.

A few miles away, single dad Ben Hofland believes his fortunes are changing at last. Forced to move back to the sleepy village where he grew up following the breakdown of his marriage, Ben finally finds work. What’s more, the bullies who have been terrorising his son, Ollie, disappear. For the first time in months, Ben feels lucky.

But he is unaware that someone is watching him and Ollie. Someone who wants nothing but happiness for Ben.

Happiness…and death.

This is a book that you slip into without having to re-adjust your expectations. Easy to read, it flows nicely, leading a merry dance across the hills and vales of Shropshire, dropping gentle hints and clues as it goes, while you try to follow sifting the clues as you go, avoiding the dead bodies littering the more obscure bits of the path.

Lovely dad Ben Hofland has returned to the beautiful countryside of his youth with son Ollie, following the break-up of his marriage due to his wife’s infidelity. Ben’s brain is still seared with the image of catching her in flagrante in the marital home.

Ollie still hopes that their move is temporary and that his mum and dad will reconcile. In the meantime he is miserable at his new school and piling on the pounds as he eats his way to try and find comfort (hint to Ollie – it doesn’t work – trust me, I know).

D.I. Imogen Evans is in sleepy Shropshire because she’s escaping a bad decision she made whilst at the Met. A woman who doesn’t suffer fools gladly, her impulsive tendencies led her to fail to stop a junior officer from doing something very stupid, which resulted in a permanent injury for him and a serious black mark on her career.

Imogen would be hiding in Shropshire if only her bright red hair hadn’t made that impossible.

Meanwhile, Fiona, newly fit after a recent heart transplant, is cycling home through the countryside,  after a tryst with her lover, when she sees a white van blocking the road.  Later she is found dead in the ruined priory, a smile on her face and her eyes open. She is the latest victim of a serial killer known as ‘The Viper’.

As Imogen tries to rescue her career and find the link between the killer and his/her victims, Ben and Ollie’s fortunes start to change for the better.

In a compelling and fast paced book, riddled with clues both real and false, Edwards has created a thriller that pleases and puzzles in equal measure.

There’s a lovely contrast between the quiet rural idyll of Ironbridge and the number of brutally killed bodies found in the book.

Compulsive and addictive, this is a psychological thriller I flew through with enjoyment and pleasure.

The Lucky Ones is published by Thomas & Mercer on June 15th 2017

Amazon             Waterstones

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