The One That Got Away by J.D. Kirk

Today I am sharing my thoughts on the first in a brand new series from author JD Kirk, The One That Got Away. The series features DI Heather Filson and is out on 25th May. My thanks to publisher Zertex Crime for the advance copy. Here’s what it’s all about:

Source: Advance Reader Copy
Release Date: 25 May 2023
Publisher: Zertex Crime

About the Book

What if your worst enemy was your only hope?

When a fifteen-year-old girl fails to make it home after school, DI Heather Filson believes she’s dealing with just another teenage runaway.

The girl’s grandfather, a notorious Glasgow gangster, disagrees. Convinced one of his underworld enemies has grabbed her, he’s prepared to bathe the city in blood in order to bring his princess home.

But, as the days pass and the evidence mounts, Heather starts to fear that they’re both wrong, and that a brutal killer from the past has returned.

A killer who once stalked the streets of her hometown, preying on vulnerable young victims.

A killer that DI Heather Filson is uniquely familiar with…

Uncover the secrets of The One That Got Away in the first book in a brand new Scottish crime fiction series by JD Kirk, author of the multi-million selling DCI Jack Logan novels.

My Thoughts

Just for a change, this is the first book I’ve read by J.D. Kirk. I’ve quite a few of the Jack Logan books in my collection, and I can’t help feeling that if I’d read some of those, I’d perhaps have had more of an inkling as to who DI Heather Filson was going into this book. If, like me, you are a JD Kirk newbie, don’t despair. Everything you need to know about our series heroine you will learn in this book, and, to be honest, the voyage of discovery, both of Heather’s character quirks, her background and just what makes her tick (and tick she truly does), is half of the beauty of the book. There is a brief tie back to the DCI Jack Logan series, including a very brief cameo by the man himself, but this is very much Heather Filson’s story. Quite literally in fact. With a case that forces her to confront her very dark past, and to team up with someone she considers to be foe not friend, this is a book which captured my attention from the start, really pulling me in, leaving me intrigued after the very first chapter and keeping me engaged to the very last page.

It’s fair to say that Heather Filson is quite a complex character. Understandable given what we learn about her past, but to say that she is quite direct, clearly doesn’t suffer fools (her boss) easily, and is quite feisty and spirited, would be an understatement. She doesn’t play nicely with others and whilst not being the least observant of proper police procedure I’ve seen in books, she does stretch the limits of the law a touch. It’s a good job the Superintendent is on her side as the chances of her getting in trouble are exceedingly high. I liked her. Liked her straight talking and her often sarcastic humour. She has a very personal reason to want to see the perpetrator in this case – the abduction of a young girl – brought to justice, but just what that is and why it adds to the pressure and intensity of the book, you’ll have to read to find out.

This was a really fast paced, high drama and tension kind of read. Faced with an unknown antagonist and a very long list of possible suspects, it was really hard to predict what direction this investigation was going to take. I liked the back and forth between Heather and crime boss, and the missing girl’s Grandfather, Shuggie Cowan. Great banter, even if tinged at times with a touch (lot) of menace on Shuggie’s part. There is an unusual vibe between them, and we learn more of the reasons for Heather’s animosity, other than the obvious law breaking on Shuggie’s part, as the book goes on. But they make for a strangely effective team when it comes to seeing justice done. The conflict between Heather and her DCI, Samuel “Snecky” Grant adds a touch of humour to the book, with Heather constantly undermining him and his snivelling sidekick in a way that adds light to an otherwise dark investigation.

There is a lot of mystery feeding through the book, a smattering of misdirection and misinformation, and a lot of surprise reveals, which really kept me guessing to the end of the book. Many comedic moments kept the book from going down too dark a path, although there is no denying the seriousness of the investigation. But perhaps one of the real treats of this book, one of the characters who really made me smile, was podcaster, and fellow student of the victim, Ace Wurzel. It’s fair to say that she has a few character quirks of her own, but Ace’s fascination with an unsolved case from the past brings her front and centre in Heather’s latest investigation, and the pairing of the two is unconventional, endearing and often quite funny, especially with Ace and her literal interpretation of most situations meaning she’s not really able to process Heather’s sarcasm. She’s very intelligent and quite astute though, and may well hold the key to solving the whole case.

A brilliant start to the series and I’m very intrigued to see where JD Kirk takes us, and Heather, in the future. I’m also more determined to read the Jack Logan books too. If this is anything to go by, they’ll be a whole lot of fun and right up my street. Definitely recommended.

About the Author

JD Kirk lives in the Highlands of Scotland with his wife, two children, and a number of sturdy umbrellas. Despite writing from a young age, ‘A Litter of Bones’ is his first novel, and combines his love of the Highlands, crime thrillers, and cats.

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