Flesh and Blood by Caroline Mitchell

Today I am finally sharing my thoughts on Flesh and Blood, the latest Amy Winter thriller from Caroline Mitchell. I’ve had the book in my TBR for far too long so gave it a prod on up the pile and tucked into it a few weeks back. Here’s what it’s all about:

Source: Owned Copy
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Release Date: 22 April 2021

About the Book

A string of suicides. A community in terror. And a chilling conspiracy only DI Amy Winter can crack.

A wave of apparent suicides hits a string of seaside resorts, but when a police officer is named as the latest to die, DI Amy Winter suspects there may be more than mere coincidence to these tragic deaths. But what dark motive could cause someone to throw themselves into the cold depths of the North Sea?

Someone in the community knows more than they are letting on, but Amy’s questions are met with resistance. A group of mysterious teenagers might hold the key, but why are they so afraid to talk? Meanwhile, after the release from prison of her serial killer mother, Amy is fighting her own demons.

In her toughest investigation yet, Amy must confront her dark past if she is to put an end to the carnage. What secret is so terrible that it’s worth killing a police officer for? Amy needs to find the answer, before the sea washes up any more bodies.

My Thoughts

Once again we are drawn into a dark and, potentially, very deadly investigation with DI Amy Winter at the heart. This time the case is very personal for one of the team – a suspected suicide in some very suspicious circumstances of a member of DCI Donovan’s former team back in Essex. As readers we are privy to the truth – present even on that very fateful night – and so we know that there is more to the death of Donovan’s former colleague than meets the eye. As the team are called in to assist and to investigate the series of suicides that the officer had been obsessed with prior to her death, it becomes clear to them as well that something very dark is happening in and around the shadows of the pier, and with an investigation that will take them well off their normal patch, as readers we are all set for one heck of a thrilling, and somewhat surprising, journey.

I have loved reading this series and getting to know more about Amy Winter as each of the books unfolds. She has a very complicated history, brought to life very skilfully by the author, elements of her past informing each of the investigations and stories in turn. This time around her family are more on the periphery, but there are parts of her life which do impact upon her concentration in the present, and some very unexpected revelation which definitely have the ability to take you by surprise. Amy is a great character, shaped but no longer dominated by her past, and whilst she still shows some reticence in her relationships you can see she is changing and she has really grown on me over the course of the four books. She has a unique perspective on life and the investigations, but a determination to see justice done that makes her compelling to read about.

The team around her are equally fascinating and it was great this time around to see DC Molly Baxter getting some extra action, desperate to prove herself to her boss and to make real mark in the investigation. I like Molly and like her enthusiasm. It contrasts well with the confidence of her colleague, Steve Moss or the slightly less focused contribution of Gary Wilkes. Then we have DS Paddy Byrne. He’s a real source of support to Amy and with his odd collection of ties and steady style of working, he really balances out the team perfectly. They’re a great bunch I am enjoying spending time with but it’s fair to say that there are a few shocks in store throughout the book that will keep them all nicely unsettled.

Interspersed amongst the investigation we have some chapters which seem a little detached from the main story and yet inform the action, and the series, in a truly perfect way. We learn more about one of the key characters throughout this book, not just Amy, and whilst it may not lead to any kind of empathy, that level of understanding does give the story context and is another part to the series which is both believable and almost draws on real life.

There are some complex subjects covered in this book, in a non exploitative way, but which draw attention to some of the most abhorrent situations of modern life. Abuse, murder and an element of exploitation, the story is emotive but draws you in rather than repels you. It is in this kind of investigation that the author’s knowledge and experience really come to the fore. Caroline Mitchell manages to convey the very dark reality of the investigation without taking readers too far into the shadows. It is perfect balance of compelling storytelling, uncomfortable truths and well hidden perpetrators which wrap into a perfect mystery.

The tension, and the stakes, are high and the pacing just perfect. If you have enjoyed the previous books in the series, you are going to love this. Just be prepared for some big revelations in amongst the shocks and the banter. It’s another fab read from a very skilled author and a great series of books.

About the Author

New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post and International #1 Bestselling Author. Shortlisted by the International Thriller Awards for best ebook 2017 and the Killer Nashville Best Police Procedural 2018. Over 1.3 million books sold.

Caroline originates from Ireland and now lives with her family in a village on the coast of Essex. A former police detective, she has worked in CID and specialised in roles dealing with vulnerable victims, high-risk victims of domestic abuse, and serious sexual offences. She now writes full time.

Caroline writes psychological and crime thrillers. Her stand alone thriller Silent Victim reached No.1 in the Amazon charts in the UK, USA and Australia and was the winner of the Reader’s Favourite Awards in the psychological thriller category. It has been described as ‘brilliantly gripping and deliciously creepy’.

The first in her Amy Winter series, Truth And Lies, has been optioned for TV.