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  • Writer's pictureCaitlyn Lynch

Book Review: Forgotten Victim by Helen H. Durrant

When two young boys fall through rotten floorboards and discover a decomposing body in a hidden tunnel under a disused Manchester cotton mill, the case lands in the lap of DCI Rachel King. Identifying the body is the first hurdle to cross, since the local residents are both close-mouthed and wary of kingpins running the drug trade out of the disused mill.

With a new boss breathing down her neck and threatening to hand the case off to the cold case team, and her personal life getting more complicated by the day, Rachel’s under pressure to solve the case fast. But there are a lot of leads to follow, threads to tug on, each one only revealing a small new scrap of information. Until they realise, this wasn’t actually the first victim…

The first thing I have a problem with here is that the title is misleading. Yes, the victim was forgotten (never even reported missing) but the subtitle just doesn’t deliver. "An absolutely gripping crime thriller with a massive twist". There is no massive twist. And frankly? It wasn’t all that gripping. I had my suspicions who the villain was from the first moment of his introduction. His motive was obvious, he had the means and the opportunity and… yep. That was it. All Rachel and her team had to do was join the dots and prove it. I’m not even sure what the ‘massive twist’ was supposed to be… the realisation that there’d been two murders that were connected? Not that massive a twist for a homicide squad, I’d think.

Frankly, this felt like a very ‘average’ homicide case. Person with power abuses it to kill. The concealment of the body enabled them to get away with it for a while. Then the police find out, investigate, and he’s caught. There’s never really any sense of urgency or peril; the weird sub-plot with the mystery man who kept trying to tell Rachel her parents’ death wasn’t an accident didn’t seem to lead anywhere, and with Rachel about to take extended maternity leave and apparently being replaced, the series also seems pretty dead in the water.

The writing is actually pretty good here, with excellent grammar and sentence construction, but I struggled to like Rachel or understand her motivation, and I just didn’t feel gripped by the plot at all. It was all far too predictable. I’m afraid I was thoroughly uninspired, and therefore I’m giving this two stars.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.

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