“The young girl ran through the woods as if the devil himself were behind her…
Superintendent Andrew Fenwick isn’t pleased to be assigned to a high-profile celebrity case – the disappearance of teenager Issie Mattias, the privileged granddaughter of Hollywood royalty. But as his investigation takes shape, and unsettling hints of an abusive past surface, he grows ever more concerned for the girl’s safety. Meanwhile Inspector Louise Nightingale is searching for a serial rapist – could the cases be linked?
As the country is gripped by a treacherous winter, Fenwick and Nightingale are running out of time…”
Elizabeth Corley is CEO and Managing Director of Allianz Global Investors Europe, the financial services company. She is also an author, with five books in the DCI Andrew Fenwick series published since 1998.
“Dead Of Winter” is the fifth book in that series, published in 2013 after a five-year gap, caused at least in part by the pressures of Corley’s day job during the financial crisis, following the fourth book “Innocent Blood” in 2008.
The book starts with a brief prologue where we are introduced to an 11 year old tomboy Issie, hiding in the woods from an unnamed adult male who seems to have bad intentions towards her. Who this man was is never, as far as I could make out, disclosed during the remainder of the book but the scene does set up the idea that Issie is resilient and resourceful.
From there we plunge into an extremely cold November where Nightingale is working on trying to catch a serial rapist, dubbed “Flash Harry”. Subsequent chapters introduce the now nearly 18 year old Issie and her friends at St. Anne’s, a boarding school in Guildford, brothers Steve and Dan, who are trying to deal with their nasty mother, and of course Fenwick, who is assigned to Issie’s case when she disappears from the school one night.
It’s very quickly apparent who has Issie, and why, and we are then seeing the story unfold from a number of different perspectives as the abduction continues and the police investigation develops.
Despite not having read any of the previous DCI Fenwick novels, I enjoyed reading this book very much. At 572 pages it’s not a quick read. There is a lot of very good descriptive detail and character development, as well as numerous sub-plots involving police politics, family dynamics, possible romances, etc.
Arguably the book could perhaps have done with trimming down a little, as I did feel that it dragged sometimes when nothing seemed to be happening and some things were left unresolved – such as the man mentioned in the prologue and the fate of Rodney Saxby. Nonetheless, the story was a strong one and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend reading this book…