You only looked away for a second…
How long do you hunt for the missing?
[ About the Book ]
When a young Josie Masters sees a boy in a red football shirt being led away by a clown at a circus, she tries desperately to alert the crowds whilst his terrified parents panic. But it’s too late. Dylan has disappeared…
Thirty years later, Josie is working as a police officer in Bath. The remains of the body of a child have been found – complete with tatters of a torn red football shirt. Could it be the boy she saw on the night of the circus? Or is it someone else altogether?
And then another child disappears…
[ My Review ]
I was delighted to kick start the Blog Tour for Hold My Hand by M.J. Ford last year with a guest post from the author (Read HERE). At the time I mentioned I would be reading the book soon. Unfortunately I never did get there in 2018, but as I am on tour with the second book in the series next week, Keep Her Close, I felt it was time for me to rectify this and I am so so glad I did.
Hold My Hand centres around Josie Masters. When Josie was very young she went to a local circus, witnessing an event that stayed with her as the years passed. Dylan Jones was a lonely looking boy and a young Josie paid him a kindness at one of the circus stands. As Josie wandered off , she was soon witness to Dylan walking away from the circus in the company of a clown. Once the alarm was eventually raised, a search took place but Dylan Jones was never seen again.
Now, thirty years later, Josie is a detective in Bath. She receives a call with news of the discovery of a child’s body on the grounds of an old property. The only identifying item is a red football shirt, immediately bringing Josie back to that image of Dylan Jones as he walked away with the clown…….wearing a red football shirt. Is it possible? Could this be the body of young Dylan?
As Josie and her team cross reference the old case notes with what they have discovered, they start to make headway. But when another child vanishes, the team have to ask themselves is there a new perpetrator at large or has an old foe returned? The search is immediately put in place for this missing child, as all involved know that time is of the essence in cases like this.
What follows is a fast-paced tale that grips the reader from the outset. The whole notion of an evil clown nabbing young children is a real freak out and what M.J. Ford has in store for the reader is creepy and extremely unsettling. Josie has to use every single ounce of strength she has to bring the culprit in but at what cost? Josie Masters is an extremely likable character. Her own personal life is a mess, through no fault of her own. Josie had her future mapped out, one that she really thought was her ‘happy-ever-after’ but life threw a huge curve ball her way, forcing her to change direction and navigate a new path. This insight into Josie’s personal life greatly adds to the story, as it makes her very human and personable, a protagonist that you will root for and hope for a better life.
Hold My Hand is an engrossing thriller, incorporating the past and the present seamlessly as we join in the race to find the missing child before it is too late. This is not a pretty read folks as there are some very shocking, stomach-curdling descriptions as the book comes to a finale. The cover of this book may deceive but the description on the back is spot-on as it states that Hold My Hand is ‘a stunning debut from a stellar new crime voice. Perfect for fans of James Oswald and Karin Slaughter.‘ M.J. Ford sets a great scene with his use of language and creates a clear vision in your head as you picture the horrors and fears of the characters involved. It’s quite unexpectedly eerie in places, so you have been warned folks!
I am really looking forward to reading Keep Her Close, the next book in this series featuring Josie Masters. M.J. Ford is a compelling writer with a clear talent for creating a fantastic atmosphere within the pages. Hold My Hand is a very impressive debut, with an exciting and rather unsettling tale at it’s core.
Recommended by me 🙂
[ Bio ]
M.J. Ford lives with his wife and family on the edge of the Peak District in the north of England. He has worked as an editor and writer of children’s fiction for many years.
Hold My Hand was his debut novel and was published in 2018. Keep Her Close is published on 7th March 2019, both with Avon Books.
Twitter ~ @MJFordBooks