Book Review

No Way Out by Cara Hunter

no way out

I’m a big fan of Cara Hunter’s DI Fawley series, which began with Close to Home and was followed by In the Dark.  I loved both of these novels, but I think that No Way Out might be the best one yet!

It’s one of the most disturbing cases DI Fawley has ever worked.

The Christmas holidays, and two children have just been pulled from the wreckage of their burning home in North Oxford. The toddler is dead, and his brother is soon fighting for his life.

Why were they left in the house alone? Where is their mother, and why is their father not answering his phone?

Then new evidence is discovered, and DI Fawley’s worst nightmare comes true.

Because this fire wasn’t an accident. It was murder.

And the killer is still out there…

Hunter writes incredibly complicated plots, and No Way Out is no exception to this.  It begins with a fire in which a toddler dies, his older brother surviving but left in hospital with severe injuries.  Of their parents, there is no sign, although the damage to the house is such that it will take the fire crew some time to sift through the debris to identify the cause of the blaze, and to determine if the boys were indeed home alone.  This obviously prompts many questions, as well as the desperate task of tracking down the parents and any other relatives of these children.  As more information comes to light, the case becomes increasingly complicated, and for every question answered, it seems that two more are raised.  I love the complexity of these novels – nothing in Hunter’s novels is straightforward, and it’s an absolute joy to be swept up in these cases, trying to piece together the clues with Fawley and his team.

Hunter has created a fantastic cast of characters in her series – they’re a varied bunch, with some more likeable than others.  I have to admit that it was fantastic to see Quinn demoted in this novel for his past misdemeanours.  To say that he’s taking it badly is something of an understatement, but I really liked seeing him taken down a peg.  His demotion allows Gislingham to come to the fore in this novel, and while he’s clearly uncomfortable in his new role, he proves to be more than capable, his tenacity getting him through.  Throughout the series, I’ve enjoyed the insights into the wider team’s personal lives, which makes them much more rounded characters than you sometimes get with such a broad cast.  I feel as though I know them, and it is a joy to be reunited with them each time I pick up a new instalment in the series.

Fawley himself is a great character, and while the series is named for him, these crimes are very much a team effort, rather than the one person show you sometimes see in police procedurals.  His personal life is on something of a downward trajectory in this novel and it’s clear that the situation with his wife, Alex, is taking its toll.  It’s difficult to know how things will turn out, and I felt genuine concern for them at times – a strange state of affairs when presented with fictional characters.  I think that this is testament to Hunter’s skill at characterisation that you do feel for them in this way.

No Way Out is another superb novel from Hunter, and I can’t wait to read All the Rage, which is due for release on Kindle in December, with the paperback following in January.  I highly recommend this series and can’t wait to see what challenges the team face next.

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