Ten years ago, the Harper family disappeared. Their deserted cottage was left with the water running, the television playing cartoons, the oven ready for baking. The doors were locked from the inside.
Overnight, the sleepy village of Nighbrook became notorious as the scene of the unsolved mystery of the decade.
For crime journalist Naomi, solving the case has turned into an obsession. So now, with Ivy Cottage finally listed for sale, it’s her chance to mount an investigation like no other. And her husband and stepdaughter don’t really need to know what happened in their new home… do they?
But Nighbrook isn’t quite the village she expected. No one wants to talk to her. No one will answer her questions. And as she becomes increasingly uneasy, it’s clear that the villagers are hiding something—that there is something very dark at the heart of this rural idyll. And the deeper she digs, the more it seems her investigation could be more dangerous than she ever imagined… In raking up the secrets of the past, has she made her own family the next target?
Would you purchase a house in a small village in the New Forest if you knew that 10 years earlier the family that lived there went missing, presumed dead? The Harper family, mum, dad and their terminally Ill daughter Grace had vanished, never to be seen again. As a journalist the case has always fascinated Naomi. When Ivy cottage comes up for sale she persuades her husband Ed to buy it, in the hope that she can find some clue as to what happened to the family she paid extra for some of the bits of furniture and things in the loft in the hope that she might find a clue. Just one thing, she hasn’t told her husband Ed that the cottage has a history. She also has to deal with Morgan, Ed’s daughter who blames Naomi for her mum and dad’s divorce.
When they arrive, they are not exactly welcomed into the village. Naomi had hoped that the local cafe would buy some of her home made cakes. But after the first cake, the owner claims there was something wrong with it, was this yet another prank by Morgan or was it just a fabrication to keep Naomi away? Lloyd the local police officer seems to call the shots in the village, does he know more than he is letting on? Why are the villagers so unfriendly? Naomi knows they are hiding something but she doesn’t know what.
The village of Nighbrook couldn’t be anymore different from the bright lights of London. Where Naomi had lived previously, has she made a mistake moving them here?
Ed is called away as his ex wife has gone missing again, something he is used to. With snow falling he gets stranded in Scotland. Leaving Naomi and Morgan alone in Ivy Cottage. Where some strange things are happening. Naomi feels like she is being watched, is she? When Connie, Naomi’s sister stays overnight she hears someone outside of her bedroom door, but when she asks Naomi the next day she said she hadn’t left her room.
Morgan doesn’t like Naomi, she doesn’t like being stuck in the middle of nowhere either. Then she meets Dawn the vicars daughter who she becomes friends with, she has also been talking to someone online for several months. Someone she has never met.
As soon as I picked this book up I was hooked, the characters are interesting, believable and three dimensional. Naomi has a dogged determination to find out what happened to the Harpers. But could this case just be unsolvable. Especially when no one will talk to her. Until she stumbles on a few things. This is a brilliant mystery which has a couple of twists you don’t see coming. I found myself finishing this at 3 in the morning as I kept just thinking one more page or one more chapter.
Another really good book by Caroline Mitchell, definitely one I would highly recommend for mystery lovers. engrossing, engaging and gripping.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A former police detective, Caroline Mitchell now writes full-time. She has worked in CID and specialised in roles dealing with vulnerable victims— high-risk victims of domestic abuse and serious sexual offences. The mental strength shown by the victims of these crimes is a constant source of inspi- ration to her, and Caroline combines their tenacity with her own knowledge of police procedure to create tense psychological thrillers.
Originally from Ireland, Caroline now lives in a pretty village on the coast of Essex with her husband and three children.
You can find out more about her at http://www.caroline-writes.com.
Caroline writes psychological and crime thrillers. Her stand alone thriller Silent Victim reached No.1 in the Amazon charts in the UK, USA and Australia and was the winner of the Reader’s Favourite Awards in the psychological thriller category. It has been described as ‘brilliantly gripping and deliciously creepy’.
The first in her Amy Winter series, Truth And Lies, has been optioned for TV.
You can follow Caroline on Twitter at @Caroline_Writes and http://www.Facebook.com/CMitchellAuthor