The little boy played with his toy trains in the bedroom, keeping quiet so as not to wake his mother. He stayed silent as he watched his window creaking open and heard the whisper from outside. A minute later, Tommy and the trains were gone.
An unrelenting heatwave sweeps the country and starts a fire which uncovers the charred remains of a young woman. But when DI Eleanor Raven attends the post-mortem it reveals some disturbing details—the girl was dead long before the fire, her body had been lovingly preserved before being dressed up, her hair perfectly arranged, and a lime-green scarf knotted around her neck.
With little evidence surviving the fire, Eleanor and her team have no solid leads. But back on duty after six months’ enforced leave, Eleanor is determined to prove herself fit for service, and she won’t accept that this case could prove impossible.
Following a tenuous link to an old missing-persons case, Eleanor discovers the poor woman’s identity: Giselle Baker was a young dancer at a local bar before she disappeared two years ago, leaving behind a worried roommate and, concealed amongst her things, a curious wooden carving of a snake. Before Eleanor can uncover the significance of the toy though, another woman goes missing, and then, a little boy… It seems that someone is collecting a family for themselves.
As Eleanor battles her own demons, she pushes herself to the limit to find the killer. But her fight to save his last innocent victim may become a battle to save herself…
Why is a doll perfect? Well, that’s quite simple to explain. They do everything you say and stay forever young and beautiful.
Who does not like perfection? I think a lot of people do (the staying young and beautiful part at least 😉) and why not as long as it’s something you decide about. Once other people make the decision, it’s not done.
I have read quite some thrillers the last few years and I thought I almost met all the psychopaths, but oh no. Boy, was I wrong in thinking that. There is one thing though they all seem to have in common: something tragic happening in their youth that traumatized them to the core. I know it’s wrong what they are doing and they often disgust me, but honestly my heart bleeds for them too. It’s heart breaking how such innocent little creatures can be turned into such disturbed adults.
Detective Raven is a hard nut to crack. I have not read the first book in this series, but it’s crystal clear that she has been put through the mill. She is still fighting those demons, but that does not stop her from saving other people’s lives.
I know I have an inkling about what happened in part 1, but I am determined to read it as soon as possible too. I just have to find out what went on exactly.
Can the book be read as a stand alone? Yes, in my opinion it can, but if you want to follow the main characters’ lives, the best thing to do is to start at the beginning. (I know I should have taken my own advice, lol, but I don’t mind starting in the middle and going back 😉, but not everybody enjoys that)
In a nutshell, a great book. 5 stars
Thank you, Karen Long and Bookouture
About the author
Karen Long was born in Wolverhampton but has spent the last few years living in California. She worked as an English and Drama teacher for many years, before becoming a full-time writer.
She has written screenplays and articles, but primarily dedicates her time to writing crime fiction and observing wildlife. She loves to travel, which is a great source of inspiration; Toronto became the backdrop to the Eleanor Raven series of thrillers after Karen spent several months there.
A passionate conservationist and lover of the crow family in particular, she has rehabilitated and adopted ravens, crows, magpies and rooks, many of whom became integrated into family life, much to the distress of household members and soft furnishings. She now volunteers regularly at Los Angeles Oiled Bird Care Centre.