She had taken only one step towards the hotel when she heard the car door opening, and then something had her by the shoulders in a grip like steel. Penny tried to fight, but it was no good. The last thing she heard as consciousness drifted away was the whisper of a familiar song…
On a cold night in October a pretty, blonde girl named Penny O’Dwyer is snatched from the quiet main street of a small, coastal town in the west of Ireland. No one saw anything, and a desperate search leads nowhere… Until her abductor sends a video declaring Penny only has ten days to live and a deadly countdown begins.
Criminal behaviourist Jessie Boyle hoped never to work a case in Ireland again. But when her career in London is cut short by a brutal tragedy, she returns to her homeland to grieve – only for her oldest friend to call in a long overdue debt. ‘Help us catch this monster and bring Penny home. We need you, Jessie.’
Throwing herself into the investigation, Jessie makes a chilling discovery: Penny wasn’t the first girl to be taken. As her team find more missing women, she becomes convinced that a serial killer has been hiding in plain sight for years. Nothing seems to tie the victims together, until Jessie realises that that each abduction site is linked to the old Irish myths she read as a child.
Time is running out for Penny, and Jessie’s only hope is to understand the killer’s twisted logic. But he is closer than she imagined… and Jessie is next in his sights. Will she risk everything to save an innocent life?
A totally breathtaking and chilling crime thriller that will keep you gripped to the very last page, perfect for fans of Lisa Regan, A.J. Rivers, Tana French and Lisa Gardner.
Shane Dunphy (S. A. Dunphy) was born in Brighton in 1973, but grew up in Ireland, where he has lived and worked for most of his life. A child protection worker for fifteen years, he is the bestselling author of seventeen books, including the number one Irish bestseller Wednesday’s Child and the Sunday Times Bestseller The Girl Who Couldn’t Smile. His bestselling series of crime novels (written under the name S. A. Dunphy) feature the criminologist David Dunnigan. Stories From the Margins, his new series of true crime books written for Audible, has been critically acclaimed and the second title in the series, The Bad Place, is an Audible True Crime bestseller.
My thoughts: blending ancient folklore with very modern technology and murder, this was a really enjoyable first book in a new series featuring three unconventional investigators – Katie, Seamus and Terri in rural Ireland.
After the daughter of the former Taoseich is kidnapped, the team are put together and sent to investigate. Penny seems to have been leading a double life, legitimate accountant by day, advising criminals and gangsters how to hide their money by night. She also had a steady stream of “friends” visiting her hotel room in the nights leading up to her disappearance.
But Katie is receiving messages purported to be from Celtic myth Balor – a demonic monster. He claims to be involved in the kidnapping. Adding a strange dimension to the case. How does it connect to missing drug shipments from a local gangster? Or to the kidnapping of women over the last forty years?
Really clever and twisted, the team all bring their differing skills to the task, Katie as a psychologist, Seamus a detective, Terri an ace researcher and hacker. I was disappointed to get to the end of the book and realise I’m going to have to wait for the next one.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.