Friday, 24 April 2015

Book Review: Don't Turn Around by Caroline Mitchell

You don’t know him. But he knows you.

"Soon he would be able to touch her, to feel the warmth of her blood. And when the time came, nothing would stop him. 

As D.C. Jennifer Knight investigates a routine stabbing in the quiet town of Haven, she is shocked at what seems like a personal message from beyond the grave. 
When more bodies are found, Jennifer is convinced the killings are somehow linked. What she discovers is more chilling than she could possibly imagine. The murders mirror those of the notorious Grim Reaper – from over twenty years ago. A killer her mother helped convict. 
Jennifer can no longer ignore the personal connection. Is there a copycat killer at work? Was the wrong man convicted? Or is there something more sinister at play … 
With her mother’s terrifying legacy spiraling out of control, Jennifer must look into her own dark past in a fight not only to stop a killer – but to save herself and those she loves."
A heart-stopping supernatural thriller to engross fans of Rachel Abbott, Paul Finch and James Oswald.

First of all a big thank you to Bookouture for approving me for a copy of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. 

 What an absolute treat this book is - a spooky, gripping thriller that leaves you hanging on for more at the end of every chapter

Caroline's personal experiences and beliefs play a huge part of Don't Turn Around, the paranormal is a big element of the story and links to Caroline's personal experiences from a few years ago when she experienced paranormal activity in her family home. The way she incorporates the paranormal alongside a police investigation is unusual yet brilliant and adds a whole new layer to this book. I'm easily spooked and on a couple of occasions I felt the need to turn on the lamp while I was reading for comfort - this isn't one to read home alone late at night! 

The story is split into a two-person viewpoint, following DC Jennifer knight in modern day as she investigates a spate of murders in her hometown, ironically called Haven. It also jumps back in time so we see Jennifer's mother investigating a series of murders back in her time as a police woman and we are also introduced to Frank, who plays a huge part in the story for both parts. The difference in time and narrative keeps the book fast-paced and ends each chapter with you reeling for more. 

DC Jennifer Knight is a great main character, she is feisty and tough and deals with the scary nature of the crimes she investigates rather calmly and methodically - more so than I would in that situation! During the investigation we learn about her difficult past and her family life which sheds a light onto her hard-edged personality. Despite all this, you do still see her softer side. The friendship she has with Will, her colleague, is strong and heart-warming and it makes her personable, showing that she does care for people. This is also shown with her nephew Josh, despite a rather strained relationship with her sister, she makes sure she is a part of his life and does all she can to protect him. 

From the start of the story we are first introduced to the difficult and heartless upbringing Frank goes through, which plays a huge part in his later life. He is a vicious, creepy character that made me feel uncomfortable and on edge - another indication of Caroline's brilliant ability to create amazingly realistic characters! 

Some parts of this novel had me gasping out loud (I got some funny looks from the other half!) as they were so shocking. I also felt tense throughout the story, particularly in the parts where Frank was the focus. You just never know where this story is going to go next! 

Which brings me to my final point... I obviously won't ruin it by blabbing about the ending but I was SO SO shocked by a major twist at the end. Like I said above, with this story it was hard to know what was going to happen next and, more broadly, how it would end, but with most mystery novels I like to try and work out for myself how it's going to pan out, who the killer is etc etc. This is no easy feat with Don't Turn Around, just as I thought I'd worked it out something would happen to scupper my guess and I'd be left wondering all over again (this happened on a few occasions!) Hand on heart I can safely say I would never have worked out what happens at the end - there was yet another audible gasp followed by a strange look from the BF as I read the end!

This is the first of three DC Jennifer Knight stories and I already can't wait for the next! Maybe read this in a room by yourself so not to annoy others with your gasps of shock as the story unfolds (but make sure there's someone in the next room as you won't want to read it if you're completely on your own!) 

A brilliantly written, spooky mystery that made my toes curl - make sure you get this! 


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