Not long out of the fast-track training course at Edinburgh’s police college, Detective Sergeant Carla Herron is about to be tested to breaking point.
She’s been called to Deepwell psychiatric hospital in the Scottish borders to interview a patient who has confessed to the murder of one of the hospital’s psychotherapists. The confession is vividly detailed, but for a man locked in a secure ward and under 24-hour surveillance, it is also utterly impossible.
So why can’t the supposedly murdered psychotherapist be contacted? Why are the hospital staff so secretive, so difficult to work with? Why have other Deepwell patients have made disturbingly similar confessions over the past year? Against the advice of her superiors, Carla delves deeper into the hospital’s past and is plunged into a labyrinth of jealousies, lies and hallucinations.
Struggling to separate fact from fantasy, Carla embarks on a chilling trail through the bleak uplands and dark forests of the Scottish borders, every step taking her closer to a final – deadly – reckoning.
I haven’t read Mr Quinn’s other series but now I think I must- I polished off The Listeners in two mad reading sittings- a beautifully described immersive setting and a great character to follow along with in Carla, who struggles with a home life balance in a realistic way.
Thrown into her first major case, a strange and difficult one, as unlikely confessions to murder start becoming reality. Carla uses a mix of practicality and instinct to guide her – often hindered rather than helped by her enigmatic and almost silent partner. It is a highly engaging plot with a haunting sense to the writing that is often genuinely creepy.
Pacy and clever, the story is a manipulative one involving manipulative people, with themes of mental health and hidden secrets. It has unexpected moments and thought provoking ones and a truly excellent finale with a classically done reveal.
Thoroughly enjoyed it. Very glad this is the start to a new series. I shall be following.