I was very happy when the first pick of my bookclub for 2018 was a mystery novel, which tends to be a genre of fiction I quite enjoy. I haven’t read Clare Mackintosh’s first novel, which was apparently very successful, so I didn’t approach this novel with too many expectations.
This books folows 2 main characters:
Firstly, we have Zoey, a 40-year-old mother of 2 who one day sees her picture in the newspaper advertising unspecified services amongst ads of the phone-sex variety, and subsequently notices that the same ad runs everyday featuring pictures of different women, some of which are showing up in other news outlets as crime victims.
Then we have Kelly, a former detective of the British Transport Police demoted to uniformed police officer following an incident which almost destroyed her career. Kelly gets involved in the investigation as she is the officer on file for the first victim Zoey identifies from the newspaper pictures, and goes on to insinuate herself into the murder investigation of another “postergirl” highlighting the link between the cases and turning it into a serial investigation.
A lot happens in the meantime – they both get involved in the investigation. Kelly breaks all the rules, and Zoey takes the typical horror movie route of trying to figure things out herself instead of caling the freaking police. But alright. That’s how these stories move forward, and if characters weren’t idiots sometimes most books would never be able to create the conflicts needed to make them interesting.
The book keeps you guessing. If not at the “how” – as the whole website thing was pretty obvious from the start -, then definitely at the “who”. Multiple theories kept forming and being crushed in my head as the book progressed, and that kept it interesting.
The one thing thar really bugged me, though, was the epilogue. Honestly, I found it unnecessary and a bad choice on part of the author. I’m not sure if she was going for a cliffhanger, or just wanted to make it creepy, but for me it didn’t work – it felt like she got to the end of the story and decided to throw in a last plot twist just for the sake of it. It didn’t add to the story, in my humble opinion.
I also wasn’t a fan of the “villian POVs” spaced out throughout the book – again an attempt at creepiness that felt forced to me.
Also, I kept getting confused in the beginning of my audiobook because of similar character names – Kelly, Kathy and Katie? That was a complication that was not needed. Sometimes little things like thinking about the reader when naming your characters can make all the difference.
But all in all, I enjoyed this book. You need to suspend disbelief a bit on the basic premisse of “how” it is all taking place, but if you manage that you’re in for an interesting ride.