No Place to Die
By Clare Donoghue
Published by Pan Macmillan (12 March 2015)
DS Jane Bennett takes charge of South London's Lewisham murder squad following the temporary suspension of her boss, DI Mike Lockyer. His involvement with a female witness resulted in her murder. Mike returns to work but he's a shadow of the detective he was a few months before. Bennett gets a desperate call from an old friend to say that her husband, retired colleague Mark Leech, has gone missing. Blood spatters found in the home suggest that she doesn't have long to find him.
When Jane is sent to a site in Elmstead Woods, she stumbles upon a sinister murder scene. A tomb has been created, and the body she finds is not Mark's - as she dreaded and suspected - but that of missing university student, Maggie Hungerford. Her killer recorded her last moments, even providing an air supply which was only cut off when the game lost its thrill. Two men admit to having had a sexual relationship with Maggie. Both deny murder. Someone is lying. And Mark is still missing.
When another tomb is discovered, an anonymous tip and mounting evidence suggest a disturbing link which threatens to derail both cases and let a murderer walk free. Lockyer is shocked into supporting Bennett on a case which becomes ever more ominous and dangerous as the investigation deepens. They know that their hunt is for a killer with a mind so twisted that he, or she, is likely to stop at nothing.
No Place to Die was a pleasure to read and a great crime thriller. I was hooked from the first page and found it difficult to put the book down until the end.
There's plenty of police procedure, but this is interspersed with tense scenes and chilling chapters focusing on the victims. In No Place to Die, the victims are buried alive, watched closely by the captor until their final breath - this is a horrifying prospect for anyone, and Clare Donoghue describes the scenes vividly but not too gruesomely.
I found DS Jane Bennett to be a likeable well-rounded character. She isn't perfect and struggles with balancing her private and professional lives. I couldn't decide whether or not I liked DI Mike Lockyer - maybe I would know more about his character if I had read the first book before this one, as he was clearly suffering from the after-effects of a difficult case.
The plot itself flowed well and at a fast pace. The author definitely kept me guessing until the end, and I wasn't expecting the final twist - brilliant!
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher and through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.