Publication Date: April 6th from Quercus
Source: Review Copy
A young psychiatric registrar is found dead in the woods outside a summer camp for young eating disorder patients, run by the charismatic, world-renowned Professor Ned Chesham. DI Grace Fisher investigates, but it is not long before she is pulled from the case – to head up a Metropolitan Police review into a cold case involving Chesham himself.
Nearly twenty years ago, one of Chesham’s patients made allegations that he sexually assaulted her. The investigation at the time found no conclusive proof, but Grace soon discovers another victim, and a witness whose account never reached the police. Does this mean the original investigation was bungled? Scotland Yard would certainly like her to conclude otherwise.
As Grace uncovers the lies that led to the young doctor’s murder, she discovers the full extent of the damage done to Chesham’s ‘special girls’ – and the danger they are still in.
I loved The Special Girls – it is an emotive and very current theme that Isabelle Grey uses as her main plot here, that of historical child abuse and the difficulties of prosecuting, or even proving, criminal acts committed by those in power. As such it is at times a quite harrowing read, the author digging into the fallout and affect on those who suffer at the hands of those they should be able to trust.
When a psychiatric registrar is found dead, Grace gets the case but it soon becomes apparent that there are political issues that may stymie her investigation. Soon moved on to a cold case review that is connected, she is thrown into a years long history of possible abuse against young girls suffering eating disorders. The plot flows along from there, Grace finding obstacles at every turn, having to think outside the box in order to get to the truth and putting her own career in danger along the way.
The Special Girls is highly readable, well flowing and immersive – I’ve enjoyed the previous books in this series but I do think that this one has taken things up a notch, not only in regards to character arcs but in depth and quality of storytelling. Isabelle Grey writes about a truly horrific subject with sympathy and realism – you feel every moment of it, get frustrated right along with Grace when political maneuvering gets in the way of protecting the vulnerable – it is often very heart wrenching stuff but always genuine and as we know from many recent news headlines, not at all unbelievable.
This was addictive reading with a tough emotional edge and realistic twists of fate that I have no problem at all recommending.
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