Close to Home (DI Adam Fawley #1) : Book Review

Close to Home by Cara Hunter

★★★✰✰ 3.5 stars

Close to Home might seem like yet another missing-child crime novel but Hunter manages to make give a fresh take to this scenario.The narrative switches from 1st pov to 3rd, and includes tweets and newspaper articles. We can follow the crime through a wide range of individuals (those who are investigating the disappearance, as well as the family, neighbours and teachers of the missing eight-year-old, Daisy Mason, and the public) who offer differentiating views on the crime.
There is a thought-provoking discussion on class that underlines the story as well as a critique on the ways media likes to play judge, jury and executioner. The investigation is fast-paced and full of small yet engrossing revelations. I thought that the characters all sounded very credible (in their mannerisms and ways of speaking) however the children did not sound like children at all. There are a few scenes where there are no adults and they were rather awkward. Still, given that everything else about this story was very realistic, it didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment.
The sense of urgency given by Daisy’s disappearance and the fast-paced investigation where incredibly compulsive.
Sadly, the epilogue ruined things for me. It made a few portions of the narrative needlessly manipulative (view spoiler), it made DI Adam Fawley not great at his job, and it sort of seemed to excuse (view spoiler), and finally (view spoiler)

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In the Woods by Tana French

What I am telling you, before you begin my story, is this – two things: I crave the truth. And I lie.

An incredibly intense and absorbing read. In the Woods is so much more than a ‘crime’ novel. French creates incredibly vivid characters. She also has a knack for dialogue: that is to say that the conversations, arguments and discussions had by her characters felt incredibly real to me. The way in which she narrates this mystery is completely encompassing. I eagerly read chapter after chapter, my head filled by the main character’s meanderings: despite acting like a right ol’ dick, I still loved being in Rob’s head. He was so…believable. His fear, uncertainties and desires. All of it. I was taken in by his story, unable – and not wanting – to leave.
In short, I was really taken by In the Woods.
I don’t think I can do this novel justice… just go and see for yourself.
A few quotes:

I am not good at noticing when I’m happy, except in retrospect. My gift, or fatal flaw, is for nostalgia. I have sometimes been accused of demanding perfection, of rejecting heart’s desires as soon as I get close enough that the mysterious impressionistic gloss disperses into plain solid dots, but the truth is less simplistic than that. I know very well that perfection is made up of frayed, off-struck mundanities. I suppose you could say my real weakness is a kind of longsightedness: usually it is only at a distance, and much too late, that I can see the pattern.

In all my career I had never felt the presence of evil as I felt it then: strong and rancid-sweet in the air, curling invisible tendrils up table-legs, nosing with obscene delicacy at sleeves and throats.

Human beings, as I know better than most, can get used to anything. Over time, even the unthinkable gradually wears a little niche for itself in your mind and becomes just something that happened.


My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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