Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Book Review: Behind Closed Doors by Elizabeth Haynes

From Goodreads:
An old case makes Detective Inspector Louisa Smith some new enemies in this spellbinding second installment of New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Haynes's Briarstone crime series that combines literary suspense and page-turning thrills.

Ten years ago, 15-year-old Scarlett Rainsford vanished while on a family holiday in Greece. Was she abducted, or did she run away from her severely dysfunctional family? 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 Crime team are already stretched working two troubling cases: nineteen-year-old Ian Palmer was found badly beaten; and 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? How did she end up back here? 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.
 
Writing
I fell in love with Elizabeth Haynes when I read Into the Darkest Corner, but somehow she fell off my radar until recently, when I rediscovered her while working on my Scanning the Backlist series.  I grabbed a copy of Under a Silent Moon to read in preparation for this one and absolutely fell in love with the series.  Behind Closed Doors is the second DCI Louisa Smith story, and I picture a bright future for the series.  Haynes was a crime analyst before she was an author and it really shows in her attention to detail and depiction of a working crime unit.  I found the story to be both believable and intriguing and she kept me guessing for the majority of the book (although I do have to admit that I figured things out by the third quarter).  As far as crime writing is concerned, I'm highly impressed - I think she meets all the criteria for superior style in the genre, particularly where realism is concerned, but also in creating flawed but sympathetic characters.

Entertainment Value
Again, exactly what I'm looking for in crime writing.  I'd definitely put her on the same tier as Karin Slaughter or Jo Nesbo.  In some ways she's a bit less gritty than they are, but she does deal with sexual themes and I'd caution readers who are uncomfortable reading about sexual violence.  If you are a fan of crime writing and police procedurals, you won't find anything here that's more graphic than what is common for the genre.  While you could certainly read this as a standalone, I think it works best as the second book in a series.  There are some characters who recur and whose backstory is added to by reading Under a Silent Moon.

Overall
Highly recommended for fans of contemporary crime fiction in the vein of Slaughter and Nesbo.  My only caution is to readers who are offended by language or sexual violence, neither of which I'd consider extreme in this book, but which do appear.  My suggestion is that you start with Under a Silent Moon but have Behind Closed Doors ready and waiting because you'll be itching to read more about Lou!

Thanks to TLC for having me on the tour.  Click here for a list of other bloggers on the tour.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you enjoyed the book so much! I loved her first book and have been meaning to read her subsequent books. Your high praise will motivate me to read her books sooner rather than later! Thanks for being on the tour!

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