‘Just read’ is factually incorrect, as I’m behind with my book reviews. Really behind! But, in keeping with the book review blog post titles I use, I’ll stick with it. Well, I use the same when I actually listen to the audiobook instead of reading the printed matter. Anyway…
Ten years ago, fifteen-year-old Scarlett Rainsford vanished while on a family holiday in Greece. Was she abducted, or did she run away? Lou Smith worked the case as a police constable and failing to find Scarlett has been one of the biggest regrets of her career. No one is more shocked than Lou to learn that Scarlett has unexpectedly been found during a Special Branch raid of a brothel in Briarstone.
Lou and her Major Crimes team are already stretched working two troubling cases: nineteen-year-old Ian Palmer was found badly beaten; soon after, bar owner Carl McVey was found half-buried in the woods, his Rolex and money gone. While Lou tries to establish the links between the two cases, DS Sam Hollands works with Special Branch to question Scarlett. What happened to her? Where has she been until now? And why is her family with the exception of her emotionally fragile younger sister, Juliette less than enthusiastic about her return?
When another brutal assault and homicide are linked to the McVey murder, Lou’s cases collide, and the clues all point in one terrifying direction. As the pressure and the danger mount, it becomes clear that the silent, secretive Scarlett holds the key to everything.
Behind Closed Doors is the second book in the Briarstone crime series, featuring DCI Louisa Smith, the first being Under a Silent Moon. It explores the underbelly of the sex-trafficking industry as we slowly find out what happened to Scarlett through following dual timelines of then and now. I actually really enjoyed the dual timeline aspect revealing Scarlett’s (awful) ordeal from when she disappeared.
The book is well-written and draws you in, despite the subject nature. I came away feeling that the story gave an accurate representation of what human trafficking might be like, with characters the reader can empathise with. And with all good books, there’s a bit of a twist which catches you unawares!
My only bugbear was that the book includes copies of police reports, which were very difficult to read on my Kindle due to their size (the Kindle’s magnification function didn’t help). That said, this was a relatively minor inconvenience (possibly only with my (old) Kindle), which wouldn’t stop me from recommending this as a great read!