Music and loud voices echo through the woods surrounding her. Wiping her tears, she hears the rustle of leaves close by. Footsteps. She has no time to scream before a hand covers her mouth and her entire world goes black.
In a patch of forest on the outskirts of a small town, five teenage school friends prepare to spend a night away from home. Carrying their tents and sleeping bags, they laugh and joke as they make their way into the darkest part of the woods, away from prying eyes. But as the sun rises the following morning, only four are left alive.
Devastated, Leah’s friends all swear they didn’t see or hear anything. Her best friend sobs as she recounts what she remembers from that night – dancing, roasting marshmallows, sipping warm cans of beer by the fire – but is it grief, or is she hiding something? What happened to Naomi in the hour that no one can account for? And what troubled past lies behind the perfect manners of the boy who organised the trip, and who is prepared to lie to keep it buried?
As the cracks in their stories grow, it’s clear one of them is lying, and one of them is next…
This is one of my favourite detective series of all time. Detective Gins Harte is back. This time, she is working on a case involving teenagers. A group of friends went out for a night of partying at a campsite. One of them didn’t survive the night.
Right from the start, I had questions. Did someone sneak into the camp and attack the teen? Was it someone already at the camp? I had so many suspects just like the police. Together, we hit so many dead ends as this was a complex, twisty case.
I liked the narrative style used in this case. As always, we get to follow the case through Gina’s perspective. I have grown to enjoy her character more and more with each new installment. I was so invested in her investigation and a bit of drama in her personal life. Luckily, the drama didn’t overshadow the case. Other narrators include one of the teens who missed the tragic party. I liked Caro and sympathised with her. She reminded me of a typical teen with flawed thinking. I kept questioning her judgement and decision making before reminding myself that teen logic is different. Another narrator that I enjoyed is a wheel-chair, home-bound woman, Sandy, who was caught up in the case. Hers was an intriguing but sad story.
As I’ve mentioned, this was a twisty, unpredictable read. I had my detective hat on and list of suspects but the one person not on my radar ended up being the culprit. My jaw literally dropped at the reveal. Motives and events made sense but wow, I didn’t see that coming.
This is yet another brilliant addition to the DI Gina Harte series. I’m excited to find out what happens next to this fab detective. I recommend the entire series to fans of this genre.