This book has the best opening chapter I have ever read. In that one chapter the story of a young fell runner with everything to live for, until she gets injured and becomes hooked on prescription drugs, which leads to her taking illegal drugs until she can’t take it anymore and kills herself, is laid out and sets the tempo for the whole book.
The book looks at the pressures put onto children at secondary schools and sixth form colleges. The on-line bullying, we all hear about, but more surprisingly the often ignored on-line peer pressure. The pressure that is not just put on impressionable youngsters by their immediate peers, but also by the new breed of celebrity, the “Influencers” on sites such as Instagram.
It looks at the boredom of the youths in smaller countryside towns and the way the drug dealers are moving into the countryside to target these kids.
Rachel Lynch has written some great books in this series. DCI Kelly Porter is a great charter and easy to engage with, but for me it’s the crimes and the locations which make these books so stunning.
Everybody would have an idyllic view of the towns around the Lake District, but I suspect that Rachel Lynch’s version is much closer to the truth.
In this book Porter investigates the sudden deaths of students from the same school. She is convinced that somehow the suicides are linked, and her and her team start to uncover a tale of bullying and drug taking. One teacher is suspended following a complaint by a student which leads to the discovery of some illicit images on his computer, but is he being set up.
The head teacher lives in ignorant bliss, whilst teachers are losing control of the school. Rumours are rife and the investigation is sent off in all directions, but is there any truth behind the rumours, they can’t all be lies.
As the investigation continues a girl goes missing and the team fear she is going to be the latest in the long line of suicides, or if Kelly is right, the latest murder victim.
As well as carrying out the investigation Kelly’s personal life is in turmoil following revelations about her mother and father. Her Mom is battling a terminal disease and trying to find peace in her life before it’s too late.
All of this takes place over Christmas which seems to give an added poignancy to the story.
I started this review by saying the opening chapter was the best I’d ever read. It had me hooked into the book straight away.
The rest of the book?
It certainly didn’t disappoint. There were times when I couldn’t put it down, and there were times when I had to put it down, and just take a breath.
This book could be read as a stand-alone.
It’s the 4thin the series and I would recommend reading the others first, just to get the full impact of this one.
Publishing date: 25thFebruary 2019