When you work on the right side of the law but have close ties to those who work on the wrong side, life can get very difficult – in this new crime series, that is the dilemma DS Ruby Preston faces.
Twenty years ago you were forced to give your daughter up. Now she’s back. Or is she?
Women who’ve had to give up children for adoption are being killed. A knock at their front door begins a nightmare from which they will never wake up.
East London Detective Ruby Preston and her team must hunt down a disturbed individual before someone else is taken. But when bodies start turning up, staged in perfect, domestic scenes, it carries the echo of a memory in Ruby’s mind. The tinkling of a music box. A mother and child reunion…
Then just as Ruby thinks they’ve made a breakthrough, she receives a sinister email, and the case takes a terrifying personal twist.
Can Ruby catch the killer before they strike again? Or will her troubled past catch up with her first?
This is a good start to a new crime series, it had elements I really loved and some not so much. For me, this book can be broken down into two parts – the backstory/personal life of Ruby and the case itself; though both are linked, for the purpose of this review, I’ll look at them separately.
From the synopsis alone, you can probably guess the manner in which the case becomes personal for Ruby – as the hunt for the serial killer begins, Ruby receives an email from someone she believes, not only to be the killer but the daughter she gave up for adoption years ago. Ruby must then walk a blurred line; to find the killer and her daughter and hope they are not one and the same.
Where this story shone for me was the insight into Ruby’s past; I’m a sucker for a backstory and that’s one of the reasons I can’t pick up a series mid-way through, I want to know all the baggage, trauma, joy and sorrow of the main characters. And Mitchell gives us this in abundance in this first book. We learn about Ruby’s relationship with Nathan, what makes that so interesting is, Nathan is part of a ‘family of crime’. A copper and a crime lord – not exactly a match made in heaven! What’s even more interesting is, I didn’t warm to the character of Ruby, but Nathan on the other hand, my lovely criminal, I welcome you with open arms – don’t judge me, he’s loyal, respectful, protective etc etc, we’ll just overlook the fact that he runs a criminal empire. I loved the tension this relationship created, would Ruby cross the line to solve the case? When she turns to Nathan’s brother, Lenny, for help, a violent thug, only recently released from prison, you just know this is not going to end well.
There were so many parts in the book where I felt that Ruby was going to give up or lose her job due to her personal connections. I’m looking forward to seeing how this theme develops in the next book and how it affects Ruby in her duty as a police officer. Mitchell has created a fantastic backstory for Ruby, one that makes this book stand out in a flood of new releases! While I dislike the character of Ruby, it’s a good dislike, a dislike that keeps me turning pages. I don’t want to say too much for fear of spoilers but what I will say is, sometimes the lines became a bit too blurred between right and wrong for my liking; the idea that Ruby might just take a step too far and not be able to come back to the right side of the law kept me hooked. Whether you find Ruby likeable or not, she is definitely an interesting character and you can’t help but want to know what the future holds for her. Mitchell gives us so much depth in the character of Ruby (and Nathan too) and I’m hoping this is something we continue to see in the rest of the series.
Where this book fell a bit short for me was the case itself, I thought the idea was great but the delivery of the case lacked the excitement, thrill and chill I was expecting. I was kept guessing until the very end, regarding who the actual killer was, which is always a plus, but I just wasn’t that invested in the outcome. I think Mitchell wrote in the storyline of Ruby and her ties to this crime family, and her and Nathan’s upbringing, so well, it’s all I wanted to focus on! Nathan and his family reminded me of the families you’d find in a Martina Cole book.
*Thank you to the author (Caroline Mitchell) and publisher (Bookouture) for granting me access to a digital copy of this book via Netgalley*
This book is available to pre-order (release date 11/11/16) from: Amazon UK