I received this book from Netgalley for an honest review.
The third instalment to DCI Matilda Darke’s story as she and her team hunt for a killer in a youth offenders centre housing some of the most dangerous child killers. Haunted by the case of her career she must try to hold it together while coping with the death of her husband.
As a big fan of crime novels I was looking forward to delving into this book after binging YA novels. Even though I have not read any of the previous novels within this series, I can say it works well as a standalone novel with Wood dropping expository details throughout and filling in any questions as they arise. It is clear to see that the characters are well developed and each have their own unique quirks bringing relief from some very questionable children. I call them children but, they are infact teenagers who have committed brutal crimes in some cases for nothing more than a handleful of money.
In the first half of the novel we are given a chapter on each boy from their perspective as they committed their crimes. It could be argued that the novel is looking at what makes a child kill, nurture or nature, as Rory (a detective) struggles to comprehend what would drive a teenager to do such a thing. However, I think the novel puts across the case that it cannot be defined simply as nurture and nature, good and evil and that possibly everybody has it within them.
All of the detectives on the case are effected by the case differently with some having children the same age. Wood has managed to capture real reactions and opinions of the killers brilliantly without it feeling like he’s condemning them too much. With the dedicated chapters on them the readers are then able to form their own opinions without being led by the writer. With the characters having so much backstory which I am not privy to I would more than happy to go out and buy the previous two novels if this third is anything to go by.
The case itself is tricky and I did not know the murderer until the end. The careful details that Wood leaves for the reader are very subtle and yet looking back I see them as painfully obvious. Of course the case was going to be difficult to solve with Matilda’s priorities lying elsewhere and thee team struggling to come together without her leadership. I found myself favouring Matilda’s unofficial rather than the one I was supposed to engrossed in.
All in all the book was a brilliant read, showing the true emotions and roles of police officers and ecteitives within the UK without feeling the need to revert to a quick solve in which everything is solved within a matter of days. I look forward to picking up the next book and the previous two also.