Thursday, April 17, 2014

Under a Silent Moon

Under a Silent Moon by Elizabeth Haynes
HarperCollins : 4/15/2014
Hardcover, 368 pages
ISBN-13: 9780062276025
This first novel in an exciting British crime series from suspense talent Elizabeth Haynes, is a blend of literary suspense and page-turning thriller that introduces formidable Detective Chief Inspector Louisa Smith.

In the crisp, early hours of an autumn morning, the police are called to investigate two deaths. The first is a suspected murder at a farm on the outskirts of a small village. A beautiful young woman has been found dead, her cottage drenched with blood. The second is a reported suicide at a nearby quarry. A car with a woman’s body inside was found at the bottom of the pit.

As DI Louisa Smith and her team gather evidence, they discover a shocking link between the two cases and the two deaths—a bond that sealed their terrible fates one cold night, under a silent moon.

In Under a Silent Moon, Elizabeth Haynes interweaves fictional primary source materials—police reports, phone messages, interviews—and multiple character viewpoints to create a sexy, edgy, and compulsively readable tale of murder, mystery, and unsettling suspense.
My Thoughts:

Under a Silent Moon by Elizabeth Haynes is a highly recommended British police procedural that marks the start of a new series.

The day after Halloween two different women are found dead in a small village.  Polly Leuchars, who was working as a stable hand for Felicity Maitland, is found bludgeoned to death in her cottage. Clearly she was murdered. A second woman, Barbara Fletcher-Norman, is found in  a car that went into quarry. Once he hears of her death, her husband collapses and is sent to the hospital. Things are not quite as simple as they originally seem for Detective Chief Inspector Louisa (Lou) Smith of the major crimes unit, who takes the lead in the investigation.  Andy Hamiltion is also on the case to assist Lou. Matters are even further complicated because Barbara is a neighbor to the Maitlands. It seems that Polly may have been having an affair with Barbara's husband - as well as many others - but there is also some suspicious illegal business going on that could tie into the cases. 

For those who really love their police procedurals Under a Silent Moon  includes official reports, interviews, emails, and documents from the case. These documents help to propel the story forward while uncovering clues to solve the crime, which results in an authenticity to the novel. It's one thing to tell us what the police heard from a witness. It's another thing to read the report or interview of the witness. I think the inclusion of the "official" documents is clearly an addition that you will either like or dislike - I happened to be on the like side. I also rather enjoyed the case diagrams provided in the appendix. Haynes is a police intelligence analyst so the materials she includes look like the real deal. 

While the plot of the novel is well thought out and carefully devised, some of the characters are less well developed. I wasn't too bothered by this because clearly some characters will be better developed over time in the new series. For those who like closure, the ending is clearly written with a sequel in mind so every issue in the story isn't completely resolved.

Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of HarperCollins for review purposes.

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