Today I am thrilled to be taking part in the tour for The Chosen Ones by Howard Linskey. My thanks to publisher Penguin for inviting me to join the tour and providing a copy of the book for review. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the book in just a moment but first, here is what it’s all about.
About the Book
Eva Dunbar wakes in a large metal box.
She has no idea who has taken her.
She has no way out.
She isn’t the first young woman to disappear.
And with no leads Detective Ian Bradshaw has precious little time.
When at last a body is found, the police hope the tragic discovery might at least provide a clue that will help them finally find the kidnapper.
But then they identify the body – and realise the case is more twisted than they ever imagined . . .
I travel a lot with work. It’s not a secret. Every so often I mix it with a little pleasure and recently I rented a small cottage in Northumbria just a few miles away from Bamburgh. I planned this holiday a year ago. Absolutely no idea what I would be reading at this point. Imagine my surprise (fear) when, whilst on holiday, I find myself reading The Chosen Ones by Howard Linskey which is set in Northumbria. Imagine my further surprise when there is mention made of Bamburgh… Mix in the absolutely chilling storyline which I then go on to power through and I had a whale of a time losing myself in its pages. Spoiler alert (for the rest of the review only – not the story) – I bloody loved it,
We join the tale as Detective Ian Bradshaw finds himself being put in charge of the investigation into a missing persons case. There is a chance it is linked to other similar cases but no hard evidence that there is anything specifically amiss. Still Bradshaw has been handed this potentially poisoned chalice to investigate. He just doesn’t realise quite how potent that poison is. With resources stretched to the limit he has little help internally and so calls on his old friends and investigative journalists Tom Carney and Helen Norton for help.
I’ll be honest, this is the first book in this series that I have read but it can be read as a standalone. You may get hints at previous investigations, not enough to spoil your enjoyment should you go back and read them, but enough to let you put together the dynamic between the key people involved. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and was immediately engaged by the central characters. So much so that I almost didn’t want to put it down to go out for the day and found myself reading well into the small hours so I could find a safe and sensible place to stop. The pacing in it is pretty darned perfect so I found I had eaten up dozens of chapters without even noticing.
Ian, Tom and Helen make for a great team. There is a strong friendship and unparalleled trust between them, even if there are some unanswered questions, especially between Tom and Helen, ones which are brought to the fore by events in the novel. They are all smart, tenacious and determined and, most important of all, fun. I really enjoyed being in their company, the camaraderie, the humour and the focus enhancing the read no end. Alongside the central story, Tom finds himself drawn into the world of an old flame which pulls his attention away from the main investigation and could prove costly for someone close to him. It adds a layer of intrigue and jeopardy which just motors the story on even more.
Now this is quite a chilling tale, one of women who have been taken and held captive. There is that ongoing tension, especially as we take on the perspective of the victim, never knowing what her fate will be or whether she will be subjected to further, more abhorrent levels of abuse. Eva is a spirited young woman and it is great to see that she is never fully broken in spite of her captors best attempts. And they are a truly chilling specimen. Undeniably strong, their identity hidden by a mask, never talking and never giving away to their victim why they have taken her. Why she is a ‘chosen one’. As the implications of what you are reading become clear, it just makes the skin crawl. It will certainly send shivers down your spine and perhaps, just perhaps, make you look over your shoulder just a little more often if you are travelling alone.
I do that. A lot.
Set in the late nineties the story benefits from not having quite so much modern technology to circumvent, but it also highlights just how much we took safety for granted back then, with reports of ill deeds not so widely or easily reported as they are these days now everyone owns a smart phone. It certainly felt authentic and when I think back to what I was doing back in 1997 (graduating from Uni – yikes) I was doing a mental tick, tick, tick – I remember that – along with the action. Made me smile at times, shudder at others.
I know I’ve done a hopeless job at conveying how much I enjoyed this book but I really did. I just don’t want to say anything that might be a spoiler. There are some big surprises in store, moments which will make you feel almost violated on behalf of poor Eva Dunbar, and moments of overwhelming tension which will have your heart pumping at a fair old pace. Don’t expect any sleep as you will not want to stop reading and don’t make any plans if you intend reading it over a weekend as you will come to either a) regret it or b) resent your loved ones for pulling you away from your book.
I’m off now to add the first books in the series to my TBR shelf, but if you want a pretty disturbing, sleep stealing, breath taking kind of read – well give this one a try. It’s highly recommended.
If you’d like your own copy of The Chosen Ones then you will find it at the following retailers:
About the Author
‘The Chosen Ones’ is the fourth book in a north-east, crime fiction series written by Howard Linskey for Penguin Random House, featuring journalists Tom Carney & Helen Norton with police detective Ian Bradshaw. The other titles in this series are ‘The Search’ ‘No Name Lane’ and ‘Behind Dead Eyes’. He is also the author of ‘Hunting the Hangman’ a historical thriller about the assassination of Nazi General Reinhard Heydrich in Prague during WW2.
His David Blake trilogy ‘The Drop’, ‘The Damage’ & ‘The Dead’ have been optioned for TV by Harry Potter producer, David Barron. They are published in the UK by No Exit Press, in Germany by Droemer Knaur and in the US by Harper Collins. The Times newspaper voted ‘The Drop’ one of its Top Five Thrillers of the Year and ‘The Damage’ one of its Top Summer Reads. Both books broke into the top five Amazon Kindle chart.
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