The first several pages are in the third person, with pov being that of Amy, a five-year-old with verbiage typical of a child that age (a bit disconcertingly). Early on the reader is given hints about a place deep in the woods near Litton, Somerset, in the West Country of England, where a gruesome murder took place 14 years before in a place then called The Donkey Pitch, known as “the Wolf murders,” the details of which are perhaps better left unspecified.
The story begins with a home invasion of a wealthy family living in a very isolated area less than a mile from The Donkey Pitch, in a home called The Turrets; the husband, 64, who has recently undergone serious heart surgery, his wife, 60 years old, and their daughter, a young woman in her late 20’s, are terrorized. As the author says, “there is even more to this story than meets the eye.” Much more.
The chapters throughout are quite brief, and primarily alternate the pov from that of the hunter, DI Jack Caffery, to the hunted. In this newest novel to feature this protagonist, Caffery, now in his mid-forties, has never married or had children, and here is growing philosophical, thinking back to more innocent times. There is a theme of “what it’s like to have someone you love go missing. Not knowing. Day after day after day – – it’s hell on earth.”
About three-quarters of the way through the novel, matters take an OMG turn that left this reader stunned, after which the suspense grows exponentially. But I was totally unprepared for the twist with which the author brings the book to a conclusion. Although the clues are there if one is prescient enough to discern them, it is still a stunning climax to this engrossing, and highly recommended, novel.