Hayes cooks up a new adventure for the least interesting character in her previous venture (Until You’re Mine, 2014), British DI Lorraine Fisher.
The last time readers saw DI Fisher and her DI husband, Adam, their marriage was cold, foundering and filled with suspicion, and their daughters were in the throes of teen angst. Hayes never explains how they manage to become a picture-perfect family again, but things are so good that Lorraine heads off on a jolly holiday with younger daughter Stella to see her sister, Jo, and Jo’s teenage son, Freddie, who still live in the old family home in Radcote. Once they arrive, they find that Jo and her husband, Malcolm, have split, and there has been a spate of teen suicides in the area. Jo is concerned because Freddie locks himself in his room, cries a lot and cuts himself. What she doesn’t know is that Freddie is also receiving upsetting texts instructing him to kill himself. Freddie’s friend Lana stands by him, but her family has its own sorrowful past: Her brother, Simon, hung himself. Gil, Lana’s uncle, is mentally slow, and he sends a couple of items to Lorraine that make her think the most recent “suicide” may not be that at all. But when she starts investigating, she finds that not only are the police not interested in her theories, but the chief investigator is an old nemesis. Hayes fills the book with people who have secrets, which is fine, but a lot of these characters withhold information for no good reason except that it gives her the opportunity to ratchet up the tension. And that quality will frustrate a lot of readers who will conclude that Radcote is populated by idiots.
The author likes to add a twist or two at the end, but the conclusion seems contrived and a bit too neat.