For Reasons Unknown – Michael Wood
A darkly compelling debut crime novel. The start of a brilliant series, perfect for fans of Stuart MacBride, Val McDermid, and James Oswald.
DCI Matilda Darke has returned to work after a nine month absence. A shadow of her former self, she is tasked with re-opening a cold case: the terrifyingly brutal murders of Miranda and Stefan Harkness. The only witness was their eleven-year-old son, Jonathan, who was too deeply traumatized to speak a word.
Then a dead body is discovered, and the investigation leads back to Matilda’s case. Suddenly the past and present converge, and it seems a killer may have come back for more…
Thanks to the Killer Reads team for my review copy which I received through Netgalley
The first very pleasing thing I can say about For Reasons Unknown is that it will be the first in a series of novels which will feature DCI Matilda Darke. I find this pleasing as I really enjoyed For Reasons Unknown and am already looking forward to more from Michael Wood.
We first encounter DCI Matilda Darke as she prepares to make her return to work after a prolonged absence, while we are not immediately made aware of the reasons for this absence the background is nicely teased out through the story. Matilda has been through the wringer and you cannot help but empathise with her struggle.
To ease her back into work she is assigned a cold case to work – one of Sheffield’s most notorious murders which occurred some 20 years earlier. Matilda is frustrated by being sidelined on her return, particularly as her former colleague (Ben Hales) has stepped up into her role and is not too keen on stepping back down again. I really enjoyed the workplace politics within For Reasons Unknown, it gave extra depth to the investigating team and watching two principle investigators, Matilda and Ben, battle it out for supremacy made for some excellent reading.
Matilda’s cold case investigation concerns a brutal double murder, a husband and wife were killed in the family home as they prepared to go out for an evening. They had two sons, one was found in the family home traumatised and unable to talk after the incident, the other son went missing for days after the incident and is seemingly unable to provide clarification as to where he had been.
Jumping forward to present day we learn the ‘murder house’ is due to be torn down and naturally it has brought the unsolved double murder back into the public attention. But when a murder in the city seems to link into Matilda’s cold case doubts arise as to whether either Matilda or Ben are capable of putting their personal issues to one side to investigate their respective cases.
For Reasons Unknown is a great read with some nice twists along the way. One of those books that I finish and immediately want to pick up the next title by the same author. So Mr Wood, it is over to you – more please!
For Reasons Unknown is available now in digital format.
Michael Wood is on Twitter: MichaelHWood