Today I am delighted to share my thoughts on Don’t Let Him In, the latest thriller from Howard Linskey, a chilling Northumberland set thriller that will have you checking all your locks carefully at night. My thanks to Sriya Varadharajan at Penguin for the tour invite and for the advance copy of the book for review. Here’s what the book is all about:
About the Book
Eriston is a small town.
It’s the kind of place where everyone knows your name – and your secrets.
Rebecca hasn’t been back in years, but she grew up in the shadow of the dark local legend. There have always been deaths in Eriston – more than can easily be explained. People dying in their houses, behind locked doors.
Her father, Sean had always warned her of the dangers. Don’t let him in.
When Rebecca returns, she discovers that her father wasn’t willing to let the legend lie. He was on the verge of uncovering the town’s darkest truth.
He thought he was on the trail of a killer.
Sean knew too much. Now he’s dead.
And Rebecca could be next…
So if this book doesn’t make me double check all my doors and window are properly locked on a nightly basis then nothing will. When it comes to creepy and unsettling openings to a book, this one has done a pretty dang good job. Stalker, check, unwitting victim, check. Absolute certainty the the person who is under the watchful eye of the creepy guy (or gal) in the back yard is likely to a very disturbing end …. oh yes. Howard Linskey. has taken his Northumberland small town’s legendary stalker-come-killer and brought him to creepy, skin crawling, chilling life on the page. I loved it.
Must admit I was a little thrown then by the turtles at the start of chapter two but, unbelievably, they do make sense …
This is the story of Rebecca who is drawn back to her childhood home in Eriston on the Northumberland coast after her father dies. She thinks it was simple accident,brought on by a heart attack. She is prepared to be told that there was something a little more suspicious about his death than the police want to let on. Add to this the notoriety of the town, renowned for brutal murder of two local women and the death and disappearance of countless others and the scene is well and truly set for a chilling thriller that kept me thoroughly hooked from start to finish.
I really liked the character of Rebecca, her determination and independent nature made her a perfect protagonist for this particular tale, but she was far from superhuman, prone to jump at the same creaks on the stairs and odd shaped shadows as any other person might, especially when living in an isolated house at the top of a hill. And that is before you factor in that we know something she doesn’t about. what is going on around. the town … She has a natural tendency to ask questions having followed her father into a career as a journalist, albeit short lived, and her enthusiasm for the story is infectious. It made me want to learn more. Howard Linskey has written her perfectly, giving her flaws which are relatable and fears which are understandable, but instilling a strength of character that is fully believable.
The other characters who inhabit her world – former boyfriend, Alan, police officer and local murder conspiracy theorist, Dominic, property developer and local business man, Owen, even local boat owner and Rebecca’s first ever employer, Jack – all add colour and life to the story as well as making it feel authentic, the clash between the old and the new, with a touch of the unconventional along the way. Dominic is a hard one to get a handle on, local beat bobby who is obsessed with his theories on what is really happening to the women around Eriston, but it seems his heart is in the right place.
It is fair to say.that suspicion flows in many directions when it comes to identifying who is really behind all of the murders and disappearances that Rebecca’s father Sean was re-investigating, and you get the sense that any of the men Rebecca comes across could be guilty. This keeps the tension high and the cut away scenes in which we are voyeurs along with the stalker/killer make for some very chilling and unnerving moments in a book which is already steeped in suspense and mystery. The pacing ebbs and flows like the tides in Eriston harbour, but it is clear that Rebecca is headed for some very choppy waters and Howard Linskey keeps delivering the shocks and twists right to the final page.
The setting of the Northumberland coast is one that lends itself perfectly to the sense of isolation, the atmospheric nature of the weather helping to build the tension and matching the melancholic tone of the story perfectly. This book hooked me from the start and I finished it in two sittings. It ticked all the boxes for me – great characters, chilling story and with a very plausible and tension filled mystery at its heart. Definitely recommended.
About the Author
Howard Linskey is a best-selling author of crime and historical fiction published in seven countries. His debut novel ‘The Drop’ was voted one of the Top Five Thrillers of the Year by the Times newspaper and ‘The Damage’ was voted one of its top summer reads. His David Blake series was optioned for TV by Harry Potter producer, David Barron.
Howard writes a series of north-east set, crime fiction novels for Penguin Random House featuring investigative journalists Tom Carney and Helen Norton, as well as Detective Sergeant Ian Bradshaw.
His historical novels are set in WW2. ‘Hunting the Hangman’ tells the story of the assassination of Nazi general and architect of the Holocaust, Reinhard Heydrich in Prague in 1942. ‘Ungentlemanly Warfare’ follows SOE agent Harry Walsh into occupied France.
Originally from the north east of England, Howard now lives in Herts with his wife Alison and daughter Erin.
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