Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for the opportunity to read this ARC in return for an honest and unbiased review.
This is the first book in the Detective Anna Gwynne series which is a new crime and police procedural series. This started off with a fantastic epilogue of a father who goes out to check on his daughter after she’s had a sleepover out in the barn and then finds she’s gone. If the rest of the book had continued in a similar manner to the epilogue then it would have easily been a five-star read, however I felt like the rest of the book just fell a bit flat.
After the epilogue, there was a good few chapters before we found out what the epilogue was even linked to which was confusing because there was barely any reference to activities in the epilogue and in fact, Detective Gwynne and her team are working on another case which is unrelated to the epilogue. Detective Gwynne herself is part of a small team which mainly looks in to solving cold cases and they’ve had a great track record up to date which is why they get given the case of the Woodsman to look back into. Neville Cooper was originally arrested and sentenced as the Woodsman killer however he was recently released due to problems with evidence when another girl is killed and it is up to Detective Gwynne to look into the case and figure out if Neville Cooper is the actual killer or if it’s someone else.
I loved the idea of the cold case team which Anna was a part of, and I actually liked the way that this was set up with the recent release of the sentenced killer due to evidence issues. It really highlighted the old way things were done in the police way, way back when to get a result and dealt with it well I think. However I felt like the writing style was just strange and it didn’t gel together like it should have. I didn’t really feel connected to Anna as a character and some of the more personal scenes and character development that was put, it just seemed very random and forced and like it didn’t belong – like the random night at home was described and then a strange encounter with Anna’s sister and Mum which shows that Anna’s mum dislikes her being in the police but that’s really all we get. I just feel it was missing something and it just felt withdrawn.
There was also the inclusion of the Hector Shaw case – it just seemed very random and again chucked in there as another plot point when it really didn’t need to be and I feel it just added more to the story that made it confusing and just stiff because there was so much going on with so many different characters and plots. I understand that he did help with the Woodsman case but that could have always been substituted for another means of helping the case.
I think I will be picking up book 2 in this series as I did find the Hector Shaw plotline interesting – he was a respected family man who’s daughter killed herself due to things that occurred online and he started killing to avenge his daughter’s death. I also think it will be interesting to see how Hector and Anna’s relationship progresses and see what else he somehow manages to show her.
You can pre-order this from Amazon UK and this is being published on January 19th 2018!