‘HOW CAN A CHILD VANISH WITHOUT TRACE?’
These are the words running through DI Adam Fawley’s head as he embarks on a new case of a missing child in this debut novel by Cara Hunter.
Close to Home was recently published by Penguin/Viking and is the first in a new series featuring Oxford based Detective Inspector Adam Fawley.
Selected as a Richard & Judy Book Club thriller pick for 2018, Cara Hunter has written this novel in a very up-to-date manner incorporating social media, specifically Twitter, into the story. It’s a very original twist, as it brings the public’s view into the plot-line, making it all feel very ‘real’.
Quite astonishing to think that this is a debut. I finished it with loud ‘Whoa!!’
Please do read on for my thoughts…
Someone took Daisy Mason. Someone YOU KNOW
Last night, 8-year-old Daisy Mason disappeared from a summer party at her home. No one at the party noticed her leave. Even her parents aren’t sure of the last time they saw her.
DI Adam Fawley is trying to keep an open mind. But he knows that nine times out of ten, it’s someone close to the victim.
That means someone is lying. And that Daisy’s time is running out…
Someone knows where Daisy is…
And her time is running out
Sharon and Barry Mason live in Barge Close, a new estate, with their two children Leo and Daisy. They decide to host a BBQ. It’s an opportunity for them to get to know their neighbours a little better and for Sharon, it’s a chance to make an impression. But at midnight, on the evening of the party, their lives change forever as it’s discovered that Daisy has vanished.
DI Adam Fawley is called to the scene. It’s 2am and at this point the house and garden have been searched. A child is missing at night time so a full team is promptly called in. Fawley has plenty of experience in the area of missing children and his initial thoughts immediately set off an alert in the reader’s mind.
‘In a case like this – A Kid. Nine times out of ten it’s someone close to home. Family, friend, neighbour, someone in the community. Don’t forget that. However distraught they look, however unlikely it seems, they know who did it. Perhaps not consciously, and perhaps not yet. But they know. They know.’
From the get-go, Adam is analyzing the behaviour of the family. The mannerisms, the clothes, the relationships. He picks up on personality quirks and as a reader we get a great insight into his thought processes and his interpretation of actions and events.
Adam is very wary of all that were present at the party, as it’s soon very apparent that the facts don’t add up.
How could Daisy Mason just disappear? Was she taken or did she wander off? How is it possible that no guest or family member saw anything untoward?
Cara Hunter makes great use of social media in Close to Home, highlighting the impact of Twitter trolls on societal opinions and the affect it has on the case. We live in a world that is always ‘on’ and where everyone now has the opportunity to publicly express personal opinions as and when they wish. The case is discussed, with it’s own hashtag #finddaisy, and conclusions are drawn. Sharon and Barry Mason are ripped apart as accusations fly, based on their demeanor, their words, what they are wearing, the emotions expressed. It’s Trial by a Thousand Tweets.
Adam Fawley is a man fighting his own private demons and there are times you wonder if he is the right person for the job. Yet he manages to push his personal problems to one side and focus on the search for Daisy Mason. Adding a more complex side to this new protagonist makes a great theme that I have no doubt will run through the series, with the second book. In the Dark, due out in July 2018.
The Mason family are not one that I warmed to in any sense. They are quite dysfunctional and at times quite cold, resulting in me travelling down many a cul-de-sac with my ‘Oh so wrong’ conclusions. Cara Hunter brings the reader on a convoluted and twisty path, as new disturbing information is drip fed as you turn each page. The suspense filters through as you read the tweets, the police interviews and get an insight into the thoughts of Adam Fawley.
Close to Home is a well-plotted and absorbing read. I was totally caught up in the story with the social media angle bringing a very realistic feel to the whole scenario. I found myself developing very strong opinions on some of the characters, as their behaviour was, at times, very disconcerting and, to be honest, just very very strange.
Close to Home is a very intelligent novel, with a style that is very befitting our current obsession with the online. Unbelievably a debut, Cara Hunter is deserving of all the praise that this new series is accruing.
Ian Rankin says it’s ‘gripping‘
Nuala Ellwood says it’s ‘a chilling and twisty read‘
Close to Home is an accomplished debut that does what you expect and hope for in a crime series…it keeps you guessing!! Right up to that rather climatic and very unexpected ending my attention was completely captivated…
Purchase Link ~ Close to Home
About the Author:
Cara Hunter is a writer who lives in Oxford, in a street not unlike those featured in her series of crime books.
Close to Home is her debut featuring DI Adam Fawley, and her second, In the Dark, will be published in July.
Twitter ~ @CaraHunterBooks