Close to Home is Cara Hunter’s first novel in the Detective Inspector Adam Fawley series. I had already read the other 2 books in the series, (In The Dark & No Way Out) so this was a huge desire to return to the debut novel and complete the series to date. Not a bit of wonder this series has become so highly regarded and anticipated because this debut smashed it out of the park.
Cara has the wonderful ability to enable the reader to experience a detailed police procedural story that feels real with all its discovery, dead-ends, tensions, horrors, frustrations and rewards. Cara introduces modern sources of information including Twitter feeds, police interview reports, transcribed phone discussions etc. This adds to a genuine police investigation feel with all the public intrusion and misdirection.
In this missing person hunt, young 8-year-old Daisy Mason has been reported missing from her house-party in Oxford. No one that attended the party can remember anything strange, in fact, no one can clearly remember her even being at the party. The Mason family are the obvious initial targets for any investigation and we see that under the hood of the apparent normal English family there is a completely dysfunctional family with questionable behaviour, privately, socially and in business. The father, Barry, works in construction and has until recently been very close and affable with Daisy, exhibiting that easy father and daughter connection. The mother, Sharon, seems a little neurotic with a strange maternal attitude and obsessive vanity, and the 10-year-old son, Leo, is distant and is obviously hiding something and unwilling to speak up. The family refuse a police search of their home which sparks suspicion, however, the investigating team must keep options open. The media storm kicks into high gear and Cara uses this backdrop expertly in propagating an atmosphere of suspicion, blame and frustration, particularly with the public involved.
The investigation team of DI Adam Fawley are a wonderful array of characters that add so much depth and variation to the storyline, with DS Gareth Quinn, DC Chris Gislingham and DC Verity Everett. It will take all their wits and expert investigative skills to unravel this complex winding plot that is so brilliantly woven. Flashbacks to Daisy help create the background and potential motives and routes the plot can take. This is a real gift Cara Hunter exhibits, the ability to plot so many captivating threads that the reader is constantly kept guessing right to the end.
I would highly recommend this book as a full-on entertaining and thrilling mystery, perfectly framed in a police procedural structure.
The other 2 books in the series: In The Dark and No Way Out