Outside Looking In – Michael Wood
The victims are Lois Craven and Kevin Hardaker – both married, but not to each other. Their spouses swear they knew nothing of the affair and, besides, they both have alibis for the attack. With nothing else to link the victims, the investigation hits a dead end.
The pressure is on for investigating officer, DCI Matilda Darke: there’s a violent killer on the loose, and it looks like her team members are the new targets. With no leads and no suspects, it’s going to take all Matilda’s wits to catch him, before he strikes again.
I had Outside Looking In ordered through the Kindle Store several weeks before release. I am seldom this organised, however, as I had really enjoyed DCI Matilda Darke’s debut appearance in For Reasons Unknown I was keen for more.
A shocking opening chapter sees one man dead and a woman badly beaten and clinging to life. A couple who had been seeking a little solitude for a romantic extra-marital liaison have been subjected to a vicious attack. Matilda Darke is heading up the investigation, resources are stretched due to staff cut-backs and other personnel covering a spate of violent burglaries.
Matilda is still a vulnerable lead character and this makes the challenges she faces all the more fascinating to read. The anniversary of her husband’s death is approaching, an old-unsolved case of a missing child still hangs over her head (and is being raked up in the press by the child’s distraught family) and events from For Reasons Unknown are still fresh in her mind. NB: I would recommend reading For Reasons Unknown before starting Outside Looking In. Not strictly necessary but there are continuing plot threads which returning readers will recognise (new readers will encounter spoilers) so it’s best to read them in order.
I do enjoy a ‘proper’ detective story. The cops, the investigation, the hunt for a criminal and those pesky red herrings that will throw me off track. All present and correct here and I spent a few happy evenings picking my way through Outside Looking In. Michael Wood has done a great job of quickly establishing a cast of characters I want to read about. There are unresolved issues which I hope are not wrapped up too soon as I like there being a few demons hanging over Matilda. Yet I am also enjoying watching her making her slow recovery from the issues which have haunted her.
I found that Outside Looking In was quite dark in places, I don’t remember that being the case with For Reasons Unknown, but this was a pleasant surprise – it fitted the mood of the reader and I like when books are a bit more edgy when I read them.
So to recap…characters I like, unexpectedly dark, good continuity from the first novel and a story which kept me reading. It’s what I look for in a book. Good job Mr Wood, one happy reader here.
Outside Looking In is published by Killer Reads and is available now. You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Outside-Looking-compelling-shocking-Matilda-ebook/dp/B01BS9XGOS?ie=UTF8&qid=1467152167&ref_=la_B015CWYVFA_1_2&s=digital-text&sr=1-2