Those We Left Behind (DCI Serena Flanagan #1) by Stuart Neville
To be published: Sept 22, 2015
Ciaran Devine was convicted at age twelve of savagely murdering his foster father. He confessed soon after being captured by the police. His brother Thomas, who was also covered in blood, was found at the scene of the crime. DCI (Detective Chief Inspector) Serena Flanagan was the only person Ciaran would talk to, but she always doubted his quick confession. It is seven years later and Serena Flanagan has just returned to the police force after battling breast cancer, and everyone wonders if she can still do her job. The Devine case of the Schoolboy Killer is about to come back to haunt her. Ciaran is being released from the juvenile detention center to a hostel, where he will live with other recently released juvenile offenders. He is excited to get out and see Thomas again. Daniel, the son of the murdered man, has had his life completely turned upside down by the brothers, by Ciaran, who murdered his father, and by Thomas, who alleged that he was being sexually abused by his foster father. Will Serena be able to figure out who actually committed the murders? To find out, read this exciting book. 4 stars.
This was one of those “Read Now” books on Netgalley, and I picked it because it was a story about a child involved in a brutal murder, and I always find those fascinating (yes I know that’s a little morbid, but true crime from a psychological viewpoint is always thrilling for me). The last thriller I read was well-written, but ended too abruptly. This one was about 1000% times better, although I did have nightmares about stabbing people while I was reading this book. The author was really good at keeping the reader in suspense about who the true killer was and why he did it, and I was left guessing until the end. I love a book that will keep you on your toes like that. I thought it was interesting that the author included the son of the foster father as a major character, though he was a disaster waiting to happen. I was a little uncomfortable with Serena and Ciaran’s relationship, as well as that of Ciaran and his brother Thomas, but I guess that was part of the point.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publishers Soho Crime on Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.