Lazy Saturday Review: Behind Closed Doors by Elizabeth Haynes #BookReview

behindclosedTitle: Behind Closed Doors
Author: Elizabeth Haynes
Series: DCI Louisa Smith #2
Format: Digital, 416 pages
Publication Details: January 29th 2015 by Sphere
Genre(s): Crime; Thriller
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads // Purchase

‘To begin with, nothing was certain except her own terror . . .’

Ten years ago, fourteen-year-old Scarlett Rainsford vanished without a trace during a family holiday to Greece. Not being able to find Scarlett was one of the biggest regrets of DCI Louisa Smith’s career and when Scarlett is discovered back in her home town after all this time, Lou is determined to find out what happened to her and why she remained hidden for so long. Was she abducted or did she run away?

As Lou and her team delve deeper into Scarlett’s past, their investigation throws up more questions than it answers. But as they edge closer to the truth about what really went on behind closed doors, it is more sinister and disturbing than they had ever imagined.

Review

Behind Closed Doors is another compelling, page-turning read from Police Analyst Elizabeth Haynes.

This is the third book I’ve read by Haynes and I’ve found them all to be edge-of-your-seat thrilling and interesting in the most excellent dark and gritty way. Behind Closed Doors was no exception.

Haynes is masterful at navigating the multi-layer plot about a girl who was abducted on a family holiday and has returned after 10 years, posing more questions than there are answers.

Obviously, I felt for Scarlett and all the horrible things she went through, but she was frustrating too in the way that she refused to tell her story. Of course, this is what made it such a page-turner and I couldn’t wait to find out who was behind the whole thing.

No one in this book is a sure thing. Scarlett’s family were weird to the point of being suspects, and even Scarlett herself can’t be trusted.

Haynes’ experience as a Police Analyst brings an obvious insider knowledge to her thrillers, but they never feel clinical. They have heart, and I liked that this story in particular shows how different people act differently in extreme situations, making it impossible to judge anyone’s intentions.

You never know who to trust…

unicorn rating

Frog Music by Emma Donoghue

frogSummer of 1876: San Francisco is in the fierce grip of a record-breaking heat wave and a smallpox epidemic. Through the window of a railroad saloon, a young woman called Jenny Bonnet is shot dead. The survivor, her friend Blanche Beunon, is a French burlesque dancer. Over the next three days, she will risk everything to bring Jenny’s murderer to justice – if he doesn’t track her down first. The story Blanche struggles to piece together is one of free-love bohemians, desperate paupers and arrogant millionaires; of jealous men, icy women and damaged children. It’s the secret life of Jenny herself, a notorious character who breaks the law every morning by getting dressed: a charmer as slippery as the frogs she hunts. In thrilling, cinematic style, FROG MUSIC digs up a long-forgotten, never-solved crime. Full of songs that migrated across the world, Emma Donoghue’s lyrical tale of love and bloodshed among lowlifes captures the pulse of a boom town like no other.

Frog Music feels like a return to what Donoghue knows best; like she’s returning home after the Hollywood vacation that her best selling book Room took her on.

Despite being set a century later, and in San Francisco rather than London, Frog Music has a lot of similarities to her earlier novel, Slammerkin. The protagonist in this case is Blanche de Danseuse, an exotic dancer at The House of Mirrors who lives with her lover-cum-pimp Arthur and his pretty much shadow of a friend Ernest.

One night Blanche literally runs into Jenny, a larger-than-life character who rides a stolen bicycle and who refuses to wear ‘ladies’ clothes despite being continuously fined and jailed for wearing trousers.

Frog Music jumps from the fateful night in which Jenny is killed, back to the moment they met. Which sounds good in theory, but I like to be informed when timelines are shifting and this book didn’t do that. When starting a new chapter it took a while to figure out where in the story I was, which left me confused and annoyed at times.

However, Donoghue has such a beautiful, enticing, and musical way with words that Frog Music was satisfying to read even if I was unsure of what was going on with the plot. I was also kept interested by certain breadcrumbs of information, such as Blanche being so adamant that it was Arthur who killed Jenny, but meaning to get her instead. What happened between the time Jenny was welcomed into their bohemian, flirtatious friendship and the night she was killed?

I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by Emma Donoghue, and this was no exception, but I was a little disappointed. My main issue, I think, was the character of Blanche. I wanted her to be bolder, more outrages but instead she was rather bland for a french bohemian exotic dancer and prostitute.

unicorn rating 3

Disclosure?: I received a free copy from the publisher/author in exchange for an HONEST review.
Title: Frog Music
Author: Emma Donoghue
Details: Hardcover, 352 pages
Published: March 25th 2014 by HarperCollins
My Rating: 3/5