No… I haven’t managed to get hold of all twenty-three of the previous books in this entertaining series – but I have read and thoroughly enjoyed, Cruel as the Grave, Old Bones, Shadow Play and Headlong. So it was a no-brainer that I’d request an arc for this re-release by the excellent Severn House publishing company.
BLURB: The clock is ticking for DCI Slider when a woman goes missing. Can he find her – and does she even want to be found?
Felicity Holland is missing. She left her handsome West London house to go to her weekly pottery class and didn’t come back. She’s a mature, sensible woman with a stable home life and a happy marriage – no reason to abscond. Her distraught husband is convinced she must have been snatched.
DCI Bill Slider and his team know that when a woman goes missing, you have to move fast if there’s to be a hope of finding her alive. But with no evidence of foul play – nothing to go on at all – where do you even start looking?
The clock is ticking. But as Slider tries to retrace the last known movements of Felicity Holland, he is led ever further down a dark and twisted path into the secret past of this beautiful, enigmatic woman.
REVIEW: Once again, the pages flew past on their own as I was engrossed in this police procedural whodunit from the first page. DCI Bill Slider is all about getting the job done – and that involves keeping himself and his team from attracting too much attention from Them Upstairs. So when a worried husband insists the police start looking for his missing wife – and rings up the Commissioner of the MET to ask that it’s done, he isn’t thrilled when he’s the one who gets the job. Because said husband is a successful author, who happened to go to school with the Commissioner, who’s also a fan of his writing.
Initially, everyone on the team is exasperated that their precious time is being taken up with this annoying case, that is bound to be trivial – and but nonetheless put in their best effort to get it sorted out as fast as possible. After all, some 95% of missing spouses either return, or let their half know where they are within three days. But when those days trickle by and Felicity still hasn’t shown up, despite Slider’s diligent enquiries, the team’s speculations become a whole lot darker.
I love Harrod Eagles’ easy style – she knows her main characters inside out and it shows. There is a lot of banter amongst the team, much of it funny enough to have me laughing aloud. And while this isn’t a gritty, blood-soaked affair, neither would I class it as a cosy anything. Harrod Eagles’ writing might not be unduly graphic, but neither does she ever let us forget that a beautiful, vibrant woman has disappeared – and is likely not going to be seen alive again.
I have also read sufficient books in the series to enjoy watching Bill’s happiness with his second marriage. So many protagonists in police procedurals are dogged loners, living on takeaways and constantly staying late at the office, that I enjoy his happy domestic circumstances and sociability.
I did get a little fed up about halfway through, when I knew exactly what was going on – and probably who’d done it. Although it wasn’t a dealbreaker, I was a little disappointed that the normally well-constructed and twisty plotting I’d become used to enjoying was thinner this time around. Until, it turned out – while I was right about some of it, I didn’t know who’d done it after all. And as events moved forward, I realised that I wasn’t supremely clever – and probably that guess happened just when the author wanted it to. So yes… the plotting is every bit as twisty and well-constructed as usual. And so heartbreakingly poignant that I finished the book with a lump in my throat.
In short, a thoroughly satisfying read and highly recommended for fans who like their police procedurals featuring a likeable protagonist and a memorable victim who certainly didn’t deserve what happened to her. While I obtained an audiobook arc of Before I Sleep from the publisher via Netgalley, the opinions I have expressed are unbiased and my own.
Isn’t it great when we think we have outsmarted the author’s attempts at deception, only to discover we were wrong and that a surprise awaits us at the end? 🙂
Oh yes – that’s always a bonus! I’m not a great one for trying to unravel the case as I go, so I’m always a tad disappointed if I get there before I’m supposed to:)).
I love police procedurals and never really try to figure out who done it. Excellent review! You know I would want to read them all starting at the beginning. lol
Thank you, Anne:). I’m a ultimate series crasher:)). Although I AM getting better at going back to beginnings, etc. Problem is – there’s always another good book waiting to be read and I hardly ever read more than one book at a time by an author, because I then zero in on their writing style and often find their quirks starting to annoy me:)).
This looks so good! I’ve read a few books in this series and really enjoyed each one that I read but for some reason it’s not a series I remember. I’m adding this to my TBR.
I highly recommend it, Katherine – I think it’s the best I’ve read so far in the series:)).