Genres: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Format: Kindle, Paperback
Chasing Shadows by Wendy Goult
He who murders and gets away lives to murder another day. Children now play on Bramton Common and nearby householders such as Jan, Kerry and Debs know little of the dramas that once occurred so near to their own front doors, and nothing of the unquiet souls of the victims and the stories they could tell. Yet Police Detective Alan Woodgate cannot forget. Now retired, this is the one cold case that preys on his mind. He and his CID colleagues never did solve the case of the missing persons from Brampton Common, nor could they confirm death since no bodies were found. Back in the sixties the clues and enquiries led nowhere and now memories and photographs have faded. All Alan knows is that their abductor and assumed murderer is organized, coldly calculating and is still at liberty. Quite possibly still living in the local area. Can Jan, Kerry and Debs help him?
Chasing Shadows by Wendy Goult is a crime thriller with a difference. Former police detective Alan Woodgate is plagued by the memories of a cold case that he worked on during the sixties, when a number of local people disappeared and were never seen or heard of again. It was assumed that they were murdered, but no bodies were ever found, and the mystery continued to confound both the police and locals through the years. Alan meets up with Debbie, Jan and Kerry and together they team up to try and solve the case. Unbeknown to them, but suspected by Alan, the perpetrator is still at large and has plans to restart his campaign of terror. Alan finds himself in a race against time to find who he suspects to be the murderer before more lives are lost.
There is much more to Chasing Shadows than a straight whodunnit. Ghosts from the past are watching, and it’s not only Alan and his team who are in for a surprise. The biggest surprise is for the culprit in a clever twist to the story that I did not see coming. What was particularly appealing about this story was the way the author, Wendy Goult, focused on each character, portraying their own perspective and therefore drawing each one out of the story and into the reader’s imagination. This was a clever approach that had the effect of making every single person involved much more real to the reader and giving the whole scenario credibility.
The author, Wendy Goult, has a great skill of writing fluently and with a consistent pace that keeps the reader avidly turning pages to the very end, and also leaving a hook that will have every reader waiting with great expectation for a sequel to Chasing Shadows. Every single character is well developed and believable enhanced by the author’s approach of devoting time to each person. There is an inference to violence and sexual exploitation, but this is related in such a way that it is not explicit yet leaves the reader in no doubt as to its full portent. The author even managed to weave in a hint of romance which was particularly endearing.
Chasing Shadows is an engaging read, well written and well planned and with a good story arc that is perfectly executed. Added to that, the development of the Alan Woodgate character has presented the reader with a likeable and credible persona who could well delve into other cold cases and present an exciting series of crime investigations.
Without giving too much away, Wendy Goult has used an interesting yet unusual approach to develop the crime scenario, one that really works and has the effect of engaging the reader in a way they would not have anticipated. All in all, a great read.
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Reviewed by Jane Finch for Artisan Book Reviews