May 5, 2019

Close to Home by Cara Hunter || Book Review

I’ve been stuck in a bit of a reading rut lately, I started off the year well and with good intentions when it came to my book intake (is that a thing?) and I don’t know what happened but it just sort of fizzled out. Things got in the way, my mental health took a bashing and I just hadn’t really picked myself up enough to concentrate on a book so hadn’t really read anything since One Small Thing by Erin Watt and well, Close to Home is a whole different genre and I just kind of got stuck. Now I must admit this took me a little while to really get into, not because it was a slow starter because it really wasn’t but more because I really wasn’t focused on it and it takes quite a bit of concentration at the start to know where you’re at. I love crime dramas on the TV and for some bizarre reason I just never picked up anything from that genre in book form, don’t ask me why because the entire concept of that is crazy to me now because I just want to read all the crime novels now.

Close to Home

by Cara Hunter

The Plot

“When eight-year-old Daisy Mason vanishes from her family’s Oxford home during a costume party, Detective Inspector Adam Fawley knows that nine times out of ten, the offender is someone close to home. And Daisy’s family is certainly strange—her mother is obsessed with keeping up appearances, while her father is cold and defensive under questioning. And then there’s Daisy’s little brother, so withdrawn and uncommunicative . . . 

DI Fawley works against the clock to find any trace of the little girl, but it’s as if she disappeared into thin air—no one saw anything; no one knows anything. But everyone has an opinion, and everyone, it seems, has a secret to conceal.”

*Spoilers*

The Characters

Daisy Mason

Daisy is our main gal, she is 8 years old and suspected dead. We only really get to know Daisy through the flashbacks and damn, this girl is ruthless. She is too clever for her own good and incredibly deceptive but really? What else is she meant to be like with parents like Barry and Sharon. Daisy is defintely in Slytherin.

Sharon Mason

A character I can’t stand. Throughout the whole book, she seems like a cold-hearted bitch to be quite blunt. Considering her daughter is missing she doesn’t really seem to really care and seems far more wrapped up in herself than worrying about Daisy. It’s like she is jealous of anyone and everyone who is getting more attention than her and this makes her instantly unlikable which really doesn’t work in her favour considering she didn’t murder Daisy.

Barry Mason

At first, he sounded like he cared a lot more than Sharon, he seems to have a much better relationship with Daisy until you find out he’s a fucking pedophile. Yep, eww. He also didn’t murder Daisy but ended up in prison with Sharon anyway because of the disgusting stuff they found on his phone. Good riddance to pervy Barry.

It’s no wonder Daisy believed she was a princess who had been accidentally placed in this family when you find out how she was treated.

Leo Mason

Now Leo is the one I really feel sorry for, you know, after it’s revealed he didn’t have anything to do with Daisy’s disappearance. The way Barry and Sharon talk about him is just disgusting and people like them really shouldn’t be allowed kids. I must admit that I did think Leo had something to do with it right up until the end and was pretty shocked when we find out he really didn’t.

DI Adam Fawley

Adam is the detective in charge of unearthing this case. He is dedicated and his mind is sharp despite the demons he is battling along the way. We discover that he has recently lost his son to suicide and I kind of feel this story was a bit random, I feel like it was just shoved in there a bit and kind of irrelevant to the story itself. I’m not sure if there is a book prior to this which explains it but if not then it feels super random and is kind of just rushed right at the end and felt a bit out of place.

My thoughts

This book had me guessing throughout, every single theory I had I was sure was right and ended up completely wrong, even when I thought it was ending and they had found the culprit, BAM! – plot twist. The book is a classic “who done it” but done so well that every time you think you’ve got the mystery solved the story takes a turn into something you wouldn’t have guessed in a million years. Was it her self obsessed mother? Her creepy Dad? Her “strange” brother or some random? Who freaking knows because Cara Hunter leaves us guessing right up until the end where she hits us with one hell of a shocker!

I’m not sure if it’s a regular occurrence with modern crime novels but Cara includes a lot of social media posts in this book, you know the sort, Twitter and Facebook type comments with the general public making their own assumptions and generally getting OTT with very little knowledge about the case. I kind of found these sections a bit annoying, I found them a bit boring, to be honest, I feel like they felt out of place in a book but I appreciate the author was trying to bring something that would very much have happened in this day and age into her book to give it a bit more of a realistic feel I suppose. Just wasn’t really for me.

The story line itself is pretty heavy on the investigation side of things so if you love a good police mystery then you’ll love the behind the scenes stuff but if you aren’t really into the police report side of things then you might find it a bit too much. I found that at times these reports didn’t do much other than repeat things we already knew so they were quite samey at times. There are also flashbacks from various points in the past deepening the different characters significance int he polt and to help make deelopments make more sense to the reader. It was quite difficult to keep up with and defintely one that requires your full attention at all times or you’ll find yourself getting lost pretty easily.

I found we are encouraged to believe various characters are the murderers as the plot goes on which being the skeptic I am I knew that none of these could have been the real perpetrators but then I also found myself questioning my own skepticism. The book appears to come to a close after leading the reader to believe it is Barry, then closing in on Sharon where I was left thinking the author really is leaving it to the last second to chuck in the final plot twist and alas, I was not disappointed there although I wasn’t too keen on the fact it was in a flashback, or should I say a flash forward, where the truth was revealed and Daisy’s teacher was, in fact, the “murderer” but also not a murderer at all. Definitely did not see that coming at all, the author really left that one alone until the last second giving no clue whatsoever that the teacher could have possibly been involved at all. I mean, who would suspect the nice, kind teacher over Barry and Sharon Mason?

I did, however, have massive concerns for what the future would hold for Daisy, I mean, the teacher is obviously a bit cuckoo to stage a murder and then bugger off to Ireland with a child from her class. It definitely left me feeling very uneasy.

It took me months to finish this but near the end, I found myself really skimping on my listening time just so I could make it last a little bit longer because it got SO GOOD near the end. I was hooked! It has definitely broadened my genre picks and I’ve already started another thriller/crime novel!

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