Source: Review copy
Publication: 1st September 2022 from Avon Books
My thanks to Avon Books for an advance copy for review
In search of a new life, seventeen-year-old Adriana Clark’s family moves to the ancient, ocean-battered Isle of Mull, far off the coast of Scotland. Then she goes missing. Faced with hostile locals and indifferent police, her desperate parents turn to private investigator Sadie Levesque.
Sadie is the best at what she does. But when she finds Adriana’s body in a cliffside cave, a seaweed crown carefully arranged on her head, she knows she’s dealing with something she’s never encountered before.
The deeper she digs into the island’s secrets, the closer danger creeps – and the more urgent her quest to find the killer grows. Because what if Adriana is not the last girl to die?
Helen Fields has an uncanny ability to write particularly addictive murder mysteries, usually characterised by especially brutal murders wrapped up in good character studies and in fabulous settings. In this stand-alone novel set on the island of Mull, Sadie Levesque is our tenacious Canadian protagonist, brought over to find a missing teen.
Helen Fields writes unputdownable books that make you want to keep on reading as she draws you in to her tense and thrilling plots and captures your imagination with her vivid characters and enthralling mysteries. Her sense of place is excellent and you can feel the cold shoulders of the Tobermory community as Sadie begins to unravel their secrets.
Adriana Clark’s parents have emigrated from the United States to Mull and when they bring Sadie in Adriana has been missing for 11 days. Sadie is a Private Investigator who specialises in missing teens and though she doesn’t know Mull, she can recognise very quickly when a Police investigation is half-hearted and failing to do what is required.
Looked upon with suspicion by the islanders, very clearly not wanted by the local police, Sadie further compounds her unwelcome status by discovering Adriana’s body, gruesomely mutilated.
The Police only view her with more suspicion, though she finds some common ground with the forensic pathologist on the mainland, Nate Campbell. Absorbing, atmospheric and full of red herrings and twisted pathways, Fields book takes us on a journey that encompasses an historical killing with connections to Adriana’s murder, pagan rituals, witchcraft and another, equally brutal, murder.
Sadie’s investigations lead to her to discover that it is not only the Islanders who are keeping secrets, but the real winner here is the sense of darkness and foreboding that hangs over Mull as Sadie navigates her way through a community that looks after its own and uncovers some secrets that should stay buried forever.
Verdict: With a real sense of danger and some startling secrets uncovered, Helen Fields novel brings a startling ending to a book that grabs your mind and captures your heart, leaving you breathless and bereft. Another sure fire winner from the mistress of twisty, suspenseful, Scottish noir.
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An Amazon #1 best-selling author, Helen Fields is a former criminal and family law barrister. The last book in her Scottish set crime series, Perfect Kill, was longlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association Ian Fleming Steel Dagger in 2020, and others have been longlisted for the McIlvanney Prize, Scottish crime novel of the year. Helen also writes as HS Chandler, and wrote legal thriller Degrees of Guilt. In 2020, Perfect Remains was shortlisted for the Bronze Bat, Dutch debut crime novel of the year. Now translated into 20 languages, and also selling in the USA, Canada & Australasia, Helen’s books have won global recognition. Her historical thriller These Lost & Broken Things came out in May 2020. Her first standalone thriller – The Shadow Man – was published in 2021. She lives in Hampshire with her husband and three children.