Christmas, the season of goodwill… Someone in London hasn’t had the memo, however, as the blood-soaked body of a young woman is found outside her house by her mother, frozen to the ground. The case takes a sudden turn when a connection is made to the spate of recent assaults by a figure wearing a gas mask. Has the assailant escalated to murder? Detective Erika Foster, still coming to terms with events from her previous case, is thrown straight in at the deep end when a potential witness appears to be a little more involved than was at first thought. With her own personal problems to deal with, Erika must stay focused and ensure that there are no more deaths…
She’s back! It’s hard to believe that it has only been two years since the first in the Erika Foster series (The Girl in the Ice) was published and now we are on to the sixth! In the intervening books, we have seen Erika attempting to come to terms with the death of her husband while throwing herself head-first into her work. In Deadly Secrets, we finally see her making a breakthrough with regards to her past although it comes as the result of a particularly traumatic event concerning her father-in-law. I love the scenes that she shares with him as it gives us the chance to see the softer, more sensitive side of the character as opposed to the work-driven officer we see the rest of the time.
I loved the start of Deadly Secrets and how Robert Bryndza builds up a sense of foreboding. Marissa Lewis, a burlesque dancer, is on her way home when she is approached by two men. I was convinced that harm was going to come to her as a result of this meeting when, in reality, if she had taken them up on her offer, her life may have been spared. When the attack actually took place, it was a particularly violent one and the use of a gas mask made it extremely macabre. This was a great opening and immediately drew me into the plot.
One of the things I really liked about this book was how much of the police work was what would be termed ‘old school’ with the officers pounding the beat, doing house to house calls and interviewing people. This helped to build up the story at a natural pace without ever appearing cumbersome. I particularly liked the old gentleman whose wife does not let him smoke inside the house – a ‘throwaway’ character who brought an element of humour to a sad situation, yet also provided invaluable information.
There was a definite moment towards the end of the book where an even more heightened sense of foreboding was felt. Without giving away any spoilers, this made for very tense reading as I wondered how the character in question is going to emerge unscathed.
I was truly amazed when the author threw in a curve-ball with regards to who the killer actually was. This was an amazing plot twist and was something I had not anticipated at all. Despite not having an inkling, I felt that this was a very satisfying, if shocking conclusion. It is hard to say anything more without giving away too much, but believe me when I say is is very clever!
I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the Erika Foster series but I feel that Deadly Secrets is a step up from all of the previous books and should prove to be a huge best-seller for Robert Bryndza. A fantastic read!
With thanks to Bookouture and Net Galley for the ARC.