Close to Home is a novel that I picked up earlier this year at an event at Waterstones. The first in the DI Fawley series, I now need to read the second instalment IMMEDIATELY because I absolutely loved it!
HOW CAN A CHILD GO MISSING WITHOUT A TRACE?
Last night, eight-year-old Daisy Mason disappeared from a family party. No one in the quiet suburban street saw anything – or at least that’s what they’re saying.
DI Adam Fawley is trying to keep an open mind. But he knows the nine times out of ten, it’s someone the victim knew.
That means someone is lying…
And that Daisy’s time is running out.
There is a lot going on in Close to Home as what starts out as a seemingly standard missing child drama twists in unexpected ways. It’s a compulsive read, and for me this was at least partly driven by the lack of information and clues as to what happened to Daisy. How can a little girl disappear from her home in the midst of a party with no one noticing? As new information gradually comes to light, the police (and the reader) must constantly re-evaluate what they know – this really is a book to keep the reader on their toes as clues are revealed ever so slowly in this increasingly complex case.
Close to Home has a somewhat unusual format that I felt worked really well. The majority is told in “real time” as the police investigate, but has flashes back to days, weeks, and even months before Daisy’s disappearance, giving the reader a little more insight into what happened, yet managing the difficult balancing act of still keeping the mystery alive. This may not be so unusual, but what I really enjoyed was the social media element that was included. Throughout the story, the reader sees tweets and Facebook posts ranging, as you might expect, from sympathy and appeals for information, to the trolls who automatically assume the worst of the parents. I thought that the inclusion of the public reaction was extremely realistic, and whilst social media might be a help in an investigation, I’m sure it can be a hindrance as well. It made the story feel very up to date, and I think that Hunter nailed the views of Joe Public.
There are some strong characters here, both good and bad. DI Fawley was refreshing as an officer who does have something of a troubled past – this is gradually revealed throughout the narrative – but where this isn’t the focus of the novel, and it hasn’t yet hardened him to the role, nor turned him to drink. He’s just a guy who hasn’t had the easiest time of things, struggling to do the best job he can, and I found the lack of cavalier attitude or tendencies to break the rules quite refreshing. I’m looking forward to seeing him and his team in future novels.
Picking up Close to Home, I was expecting a fairly run of the mill police procedural, and it delivered so much more than I was expecting. The plot is complicated, and just when you think you’ve understood what happened and whodunnit, additional information comes to light to turn everything on its head. It’s absolutely brilliant, and with a twist at the end that wasn’t entirely unexpected, but that made for a great story.
Close to Home is the first in the DI Fawley series, and I can’t wait to read the second instalment, In the Dark which is available now.
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐