“A young woman is found brutally murdered in an empty house. Detective Stephen Greco and his team must piece together her life as quickly as possible. Within twenty-four hours there is another horrific murder using the same method. The detectives realise that the victims are random but the locations are not. The killer is more concerned with finding the right house – somewhere he won’t be disturbed as he pursues his evil plan.
When a man walks into the station and confesses, it looks like the case is closed. But Greco’s not convinced and soon he’ll be fighting to save the woman who’s most important to him in a stunningly tense and emotional conclusion.
Can Greco keep himself and his team under control as the criminal gets personal?”
Way back at the beginning of the month I published my #CaseClosed post for February 2017. In that post I set myself some (slightly un)realistic goals. The first was to read at least nine books a month. The next was to read the book which has been sat languishing on my NetGalley shelf the longest. The third goal was to read at least one of the books my husband has given me as part of my Christmas present. The fourth, well, we won’t mention the fourth! You may wonder why I’m telling you this. The reason being, I have read the book that has been sat on my NetGalley shelf the longest and that book my booky friends, is Dark Houses by Helen H Durrant.
In all honesty I am absolutely kicking myself. The reason for my self flagellation is that I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I’m disappointed that I haven’t read it sooner. This is a good, solid police procedural which drew me in from start to finish. I haven’t read a novel by Helen H Durrant before but I can guarantee I will be more from this author in the future.
I loved Detective Stephen Greco. He’s my sort of protagonist. He suffers from OCD and although this didn’t play a particularly big part in the story-line, it did make me like him even more (I like my detectives to be grumpy and damaged, in other words I like them to be human). I also enjoyed the relationship between Greco and DC Grace Harper. DC Harper is rather taken with our hero but he only has eyes for his very recent ex-wife. The other characters in the novel were all interesting, particularly DS Jed Quickenden known to friends and colleagues as ‘Speedy’. His growing despair towards the job really pulled me into the story.
Now I like my murder scenes to be a little on the gory side and Helen H Durrant has done me proud in Dark Houses. This is the first book in a while where I’ve winced at the description of the scene. And as there are several victims, there are several gory descriptions which, of course, I loved.
The plot really pulls you in and before long you’ve read half of the book without realising it. There is one particularly big twist which I didn’t see coming and had to re-read several times to make sure it had sunk in. I loved the way it completely changed how I felt about the characters. Brilliant, suspenseful writing.
Would I recommend this book? I would. I think it can be read as a standalone but I would have preferred to read the first in the series (this is book two) before Dark Houses. That’s how I always feel though, always best to start at the beginning. I loved the characters in this book and I hope to catch up with them again soon. A great police procedural which kept me coming back for more.
Four out of five stars.
I chose to read and review an ARC of Dark Houses. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.
I’m one of the ‘baby boomer’ generation. I was born in Edinburgh to an English father and Scottish mother. My father was from the North West of England and this was where the family settled.
I know the area well, both the good and the bad, and so I set my books here. Sitting between two counties, Lancashire and Yorkshire, and between the city and the hills, it offers a rich mix of the industrial and the countryside and all the character therein. I always planned to write crime novels — to create the characters in my books. Since my retirement from a busy teaching job in FE, this is what I’ve done — almost to exclusion of anything else!
I have a grown-up family and five grandchildren. They see me as something of an eccentric — always on my laptop writing away. Writing is something of a second career and, despite having a bus pass, keeps me busy, young and tuned in the world as it currently is.