- Closer To Home (DI Kate Fletcher #1).
- Heleyne Hammersley.
- 238 pages.
- Thriller / Crime / Mystery.
- My Rating: Hellyeah Book Review.
Family. Secrets. Murder.
Newly promoted DI Kate Fletcher has reluctantly returned to her home town after a twenty-year absence and a recent divorce. The discovery of a child’s body near the estate where Kate grew up has her rushing back to Thorpe – a place of bad memories and closed mouths.
As her team investigate the murder, they keep hitting dead ends. The community is reluctant to reopen old wounds and retell old stories. But Kate’s history refuses to stay buried.
Then another child disappears…
Can Kate solve the case and right the wrongs from her past?
I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Kate Fletcher and her younger sister were teenagers during the miner’s strike of 1984. As teenagers they were bullied and finally, the family moved away for a new start away from Thorpe, the animosity and the bitterness shown towards their family. Since then, for the last twenty years, Kate has been living in Cumbria. But, fate is often fickle and due to personal upheaval and a promotion, Kate finds herself reluctantly back in Doncaster and her childhood home, the village of Thorpe as a DI in the South Yorkshire police force.
Seven-year-old Aleah Reese was abducted, murdered and her cold, dead body is left face down in the pond at the old quarry site. Her flame snuffed out before it had a chance to burn bright, her life taken away before she had a chance to shine, the endless roads and future possibilities that lay ahead of her taken away by a heinous act. As Kate and her team investigate Aleah’s death’s they come up against dead end after dead end in their search, brick walls and roadblocks barring the way forward. There are various suspects involved in the case all hiding secrets, lies and half-truths and different team members each favour a different suspect as the murderer. Tensions mount for the team, they are frustrated by their lack of progress, that they can’t find a breakthrough and then…another child is abducted.
As a setting, Thorpe is a close-knit community where everyone knows everyone else and everyone knows each others business. Mining was the lifeblood of the village and the miner’s strike from over thirty years ago is like a scar that hasn’t healed and that still bleeds bitterness for those families involved. The past has cast a long shadow, one that has reverberated through the years and that is still felt in the present. The village has a long memory, old resentments linger and many of the residents, rather unfondly remember Kate and her family.
Along with the present-day investigation, there are also flashback chapters from 1984. It is only a small thing but, personally, I would have liked to have seen a few more flashback chapters included as they are few and far between. In 1984, with the miner’s strike, it was a time of strife, of divisions, of simmering anger that often boiled over and, it was a time of a small community torn apart, rent asunder. The flashbacks are really interesting and I would have been happy to have seen them appear at more regular intervals during the narrative mining the past (yep, I went with a mining pun, sorry) for some more additional detail and depth.
Kate is carrying some baggage from her past, from her youth in Thorpe and from her more recent divorce and return to the area. However, her past doesn’t shape her, it is a part of her that lives within and that serves to help make up who the whole of who she is. She is determined and tough, a strong main character who is ably supported by her team and throughout the story, we get to see them start the process of building connections and developing relationships. She has a tenacity of spirit and follows her gut, her feelings and her instincts even when the investigation is pointing in another direction. As a DI she prefers to be out investigating and leading from the front rather than dealing with the paperwork and sat behind a desk.
I thought that Closer To Home was well-written with a very clever, suspenseful and taut story. There are lots of potential suspects and the author does a good job of keeping the picture blurred and the water murky where they are all concerned. The pacing is decent and in the final few chapters it really moves up a gear as the team close in on the killer and the story builds to its climax. One thing that I kept coming back to whilst I was reading Closer To Home is that I kept thinking what a brilliant TV show it would make.
Closer To Home focuses far more on the investigation, the police and their procedures rather than delving into the darker details of the actual crime. Admittedly, it isn’t as dark as my usual taste in thrillers lacking the gore and the gruesomeness that I love, what can I say I’m drawn to darkness. However, the investigation in Closer To Home is compelling, it is a gripping story full of unfolding drama that plays out across the pages, a satisfying series opener and it was the ideal balm to scratch my itch for a quick thriller fix.
Purchase Closer To Home (DI Kate Fletcher #1) by Heleyne Hammersley.
Follow The Tattooed Book Geek: