No Way Out is Cara Hunter’s third book in the DI Adam Fawley series and it is every bit as captivating, pacey and clever as the others. Cara’s style is unique, refreshing and excitingly modern, with content added to the narrative in the form of emails, social-media chatter, news boards and interview transcriptions. It may sound overwhelming but it is so perfectly placed in the story that it brings a gamut of full on stimulation. I found it created a more effective impact to hear major and essential information from a news source or police report. The use of these techniques is not overdone and is handled throughout with careful control while maintaining an incredibly traumatic, fascinating and suspense driven plot.
The great crime procedurals have teams of characters that bring depth and context. Cara brings a wonderful cast of characters that are evolving within the series and we become engrossed in their lives and the interactions they have amongst themselves. There seems to be a concerted effort in Cara’s books to add depth to the characters in terms of introducing their private lives that aren’t feeding the plot but adding reality and personality to the story.
The story starts with the details coming through of a house fire in Oxford that completely destroys the Esmond family home and sees 2 children pulled from the wreckage. The youngest, Zachary, died in the fire but his older brother Mattie is still alive and clinging to life in a hospital ICU. Samantha Esmond, their mother, is missing and the father, Michael, is away at an academic conference in London, and cannot be tracked down. The plot slowly unfolds as investigative results open up avenues that a team of expert detectives led by DI Fawley and his acting DS, Chris Gislingham know how to probe and dig, and pull it all together. It is utterly absorbing how the elements are delicately revealed without the need for the big dramatic shift to the end game. The plotting is intelligently layered and each team member brings their own skills and experiences in advancing the investigation.
The mood of the story is impressively managed as it switches from the distressing realisation that a child has died and the harrowing discoveries that are still to come, to the resolute, sometimes monotonous, investigative activities that a tenacious team of detectives are determined to resolve. This case resonates with them, particularly Fawley, as he lost a child some years back and as a consequence, his marriage is under a lot of pressure, as Fawley and his wife have their own separate horrors and means of dealing with the tragedy.
Cara’s wonderful array of characters, clever gripping plot, and detail delivered through various interesting formats ensure this will be a well-deserved best-selling novel. I would highly recommend this book. Cara is one of the best crime thriller writers around today.
I would like to thank Cara Hunter and Penguin Books UK for an ARC version of the book in return for an honest review.