Author: Michael Wood
Performed by Joanne Froggatt, Mathew Horne
Released: March 2020
Category: Crime, Suspense, Audiobook, Review
Imagine receiving a letter from your son’s murderer. Imagine starting to trust him.
What if the only person who can help you find your son is the man in prison for killing him?
A child taken. A mother on the hunt for the truth.
Twenty five years ago Diane Marshall’s son Zachery disappeared. No trace of him had ever been found. Thought to have been a victim of serial killer Jonathan Egan Walsh, who was convicted of killing the thirteen boys whose remains were discovered, Diane has held on to the hope that Jonathan would disclose where he buried Zachery.
Many lives have been destroyed by the killer, not least of all Diane’s. Her marriage disintegrated and her relationship with her elder son has suffered over the years. Now Jonathan, who has terminal cancer, has written to Diane confessing to the murder of the thirteen but not to the murder of her son.
Not knowing what the think about what was written in the letter, Diane took it to the police, believing it at least warranted investigating. The police didn’t agree, putting it down to Jonathan playing the mind games he had been so good at. Diane, who is unable to let go and move on until she finds Zachery, decides to track down the original investigating officer, former DI Caroline Turner, whose own life was altered by the case. Aided by Jonathan’s biographer, Alex Frost, whose family life was also changed drastically due to being involved in the original case, they begin to investigate.
The pace fluctuated, corresponding with the realistic, if slightly drawn out, way the plot unfolded, driven by three people with their own personal demons, who were invested in finding out the truth. The subject matter is chilling and it was easy to feel for Diane, although the point, which came across from the start, that she couldn’t move on with her life until she had found out what had happened to Zachery became too repetitive. The character observation was well done, I did guess the perpetrator but didn’t expect the actual ending. It made me wonder if there was going to be a sequel.
I was surprised to find I didn’t really enjoy Joanne Froggatt’s narration. She read so quickly at times, it was as if she was rushing to get the words out and there were odd little pauses now and again. Distinctions were made between the characters’ voices so that was a plus. Mathew Horne just narrated the serial killer sections, which were good and quite creepy, but it might have been better had he done the other male characters as well. On this occasion reading would have worked better for me had that format been available.
About the Author
Born and bred in Sheffield, Michael worked as a freelance journalist for The Star covering crime and the courts. He is part of the CrimeSquad reviews team and is an established writer of crime fiction, including the DCI Matilda Darke series.