Publication Date: Available Now from Sphere.
Source: Purchased Copy
Ten years ago, fourteen-year-old Scarlett Rainsford vanished without a trace during a family holiday to Greece. Not being able to find Scarlett was one of the biggest regrets of DCI Louisa Smith’s career and when Scarlett is discovered back in her home town after all this time, Lou is determined to find out what happened to her and why she remained hidden for so long. Was she abducted or did she run away?
As Lou and her team delve deeper into Scarlett’s past, their investigation throws up more questions than it answers. But as they edge closer to the truth about what really went on behind closed doors, it is more sinister and disturbing than they had ever imagined.
So the second book in the “Louisa Smith” series and with this one, the character and the series comes into its own. The introduction (Under a Silent Moon) was a clever take on the Police Procedural, intelligently done and highly absorbing. With “Behind Closed Doors” Ms Haynes as taken it to the next level – a darker tale for sure, some emotional themes exploring a side of humanity we rather wish didnt exist, with another cast of superbly creative characters that keep you turning the pages.
When Scarlett went missing, Louisa was part of the team and the fact that she was never found has haunted her. Now however, Scarlett has turned up – what happened to her and why forms the main part of the novel and it is fascinating, disturbing and highly addictive stuff.
On top of that we learn more about Louisa and what makes her tick – leading on nicely from what we knew of her in “Moon” – she has a beautifully drawn emotive edge to her, her relationships and friendships are all intriguing and full of great depth so you really get a feel for her and her reactions to events around her.
It is difficult reading at times, covering as it does human trafficking and abuse, but it is highly authentic and absolutely believable – Elizabeth Haynes manages to keep a realistic slant to the tale even as she throws in some elegant little twists and turns to keep you on your toes. Scarlett is a captivating and thought provoking character, even now I’ve finished the story I’m still not sure what I think of her and some of the decisions she made. For a story to give you pause for thought and at the same time entertain you thoroughly this is spot on.
Overall then a gorgeously written slightly different slant for the Crime Fiction genre, a mix up of very interesting police procedural and character driven drama that comes highly recommended from me.
Happy Reading Folks!
Thank you very very very VERY much to the author and publisher for the advanced copy of this book for review.
A Murder. A Suicide. Two Women share One Fate. Can you connect the clues to discover the killer? Solve the crime alongside DCI Louisa Smith and her team.
I will start by saying that initially, when I first heard that the next novel by Elizabeth Haynes was to be the start of a series rather than another stand alone book, I was concerned. For me, her particular brand of storytelling is of an extremely high standard, always stunning and never without its own unique twist on whatever subject was at its heart. By its very definition a series has to entail at least somewhat of a change of direction so lets take a look….
Well. Oh me of little faith. I forgot that Ms Haynes was clever. First of all by giving the investigation a healthy dose of authenticity, and then by setting the whole thing over a period of just 6 days. Also as the little blurb I gave above says…inviting us, the readers, to solve the crime right there alongside the main protagonist. Intelligently written as always and living up to the promise of allowing you to see, without prevarication, all the clues as and when they are discovered by the Police, it is an involving and creative reading experience. Thats not to say there are not plenty of surprises along the way and you will pause in your reading to ponder….
I loved Louisa (she eats muffins and cornish pasties whats not to love?) and the cast of characters surrounding her create perfect little pockets of yin and yang. Enough background and consolidation will pique your interest and almost guarantee that you will want to pick up the next instalment…yet as a complete, well rounded tale it also works extremely well.
The great thing about this is, if you were to ask me “Well what is different about this book from any other police procedural?” I would not be able to put my finger on it. After all, we have a murder, we have a Police team trying to solve it and we have various suspects, the story moves along apace in what might be termed a fairly definitive way – and yet there is something here that makes it that bit better. Perhaps it is simply that Elizabeth Haynes knows her stuff, is a hell of a writer and makes it as real as you can possibly get in a fictional setting…
Highly recommended. I want more Louisa Smith without a doubt. I also want more stand alone books. In fact I’ll take anything. Could we hurry this along please?
Happy Reading Folks!
Into The Darkest Corner is quite simply stunning. One of the best debut novels I have ever had the pleasure of reading, this is fiction at its best. Dealing with some life issues in an entertaining (from the reading point of view) but very realistic way Elizabeth Haynes takes us into the darker side of relationships and gives us an insight into domestic violence, OCD and, in a very true sense, redemption. Cathy, an outgoing fun loving lass meets Lee, who at first glance seems perfect. Good looking, attentive to her needs and intelligent, Cathy thinks that perhaps she has met her “one”. Slowly but surely though things change..Lee invades every aspect of her life and Cathy finds herself cut off from her previous persona, and relying more and more on Lee for any kind of human interaction. As we, the reader, see her disintegrate slowly but surely and go from being outgoing, popular and fun to insular, needy and alone, its scary stuff. Cathy is NOT a mouse. She is NOT a person who seems as if she would allow this to happen..and yet we watch from the sidelines in horror as everything she was is eaten away by this man. Lee himself is an interesting character – as we learn more about his past and understand the very real dangers that Cathy faces, its both fascinating and horrific. Because men like him exist. They really do. And that is what makes this all the more scary. Forget horror novels, this book is about real life horror – this happens. It happens to women all the time. Sometimes its hard to read, frustrating as you see Cathy take more and more steps towards destruction..but still you will be unable to put it down. And when you are done, you will have a greater understanding of things perhaps you have never given much thought to. Brilliant. Not to be missed.
I have recently re-read this book and as I did not review it previously, here we go. Genevieve has left her stressful life in London and now spends her days renovating her barge in Kent, socialising with other barge owners and generally enjoying a slower pace of life. After a “boatwarming” party, a body washes up against her barge, her two worlds collide and she is thrust into intrigue. At this point we begin to realise there is more to Genevieve’s London life than we understood initially. Elizabeth Haynes weaves an intricate tale, using both past and present settings to slowly reveal Genevieve’s story and takes us inexorably towards a final resolution. Ms Haynes had a hard act to follow – “Into the Darkest Corner” was a stunning comment on domestic violence and obsession and was quite rightly hailed as a “stunning debut” and was universally adored by anyone that read it. Sensibly I feel, “Revenge” is a totally different kind of story – one about how the choices we make affects who we are, and at its heart an absolutely terrific mystery. I devoured this novel during my first reading almost in one sitting, just as I did with “Darkest Corner”..upon my re-read I have discovered new depths to the characters, and a new respect for Elizabeth Haynes as an author. Read this. Read “Into the Darkest Corner” and make absolutely sure you read her terrific character novel “Human Remains”. And read them more than once. If I had my way she would write a book a month. Absolutely now at the top of my “must read immediately” list of authors, I simply cannot wait for the next novel.
Ms Haynes, usually so good at writing about relationships, takes a U-Turn for “Human Remains” and writes about what the lack of relationships can mean. Annabel, Police Analyst,discovers her neighbour’s decomposing body in the house next door. Horrified by her discovery, she researches the subject and finds that such cases are terribly common in her home town. Told from the point of view of Annabel, Colin who works for the council and various “victims” this is a chilling read and one that won’t leave you easily once completed. If you are expecting a mystery, don’t, for this is very much a character driven piece – there is no attempt at a twist, or to hide the villain, but that is what makes it so powerful as a novel. Quite brilliant!
Liz, I loved ‘Into the Darkest Corner’ and I think your review is beautifully put and captures the depth and scope of the book! I’m starting Human Remains today and Elizabeth Haynes has kindly agreed to do an interview for my Blog soon!
Ooh I’ll look out for it! I shall be after her to do one for me when “Under a Silent Moon” is out!