Book Review: The Chosen Ones by Howard Linskey

What’s it about?

Eva Dunbar wakes in a metal box. She has no idea who put her there and she has no way out.

Leading the search for her, DCI Ian Bradshaw has no leads and time to find Eva is running out. Then he realises she isn’t the first girl to disappear in these circumstances, and this case might be bigger than they first thought.

My thoughts

I always seem to start reading crime series a few books in. I thought this was my inability to read blurbs properly, but now I’m starting to think it’s quite a good way to separate the wheat from the chaff. A few stories in, the author has worked out those ‘getting started’ bugs and can begin almost in media res. The characters work well together and they have some sort of past to draw upon. Most importantly, a decent novel should allow you to start wherever in the series you want and not get bogged down in in-jokes and assumed knowledge.

This is the fourth book in the DCI Bradshaw series and it’s one of those good’uns. It’s a well crafted thriller, with plenty of action, intrigue, and a few subplots thrown in for good measure. I disliked the intolerable characters, warmed to the likeable ones, and gasped in the appropriate places.

In terms of plot, it’s not bad! There’s a bunker involved (tiny spoiler – I think it appears pretty early on) and it was clear that the author had done his research*. Like I said before, it’s a well crafted thriller and it works in all the right places. It’s one of those where you know both sides of the plot all the way through, and it kept my interest and didn’t feel stilted (a danger with those kind of stories). A minor point, though, was the “she could see the hate in his eyes” type of phrase. You can’t read emotion in eyes, you read it in expression or infer it, so stop using this cliché!

It’s also set in 1997, which I found interesting. There are mobile phones, but they’re not nearly sophisticated enough to allow tracking (or even batteries that charge, apparently). There are also reference to the 1997 General Election, and there’s a kind of underlying feeling of change on the horizon as a result. I liked that.

Would I recommend it?

Yes, if you’re looking for a decent thriller. The book I was reading before this was also a thriller but so awful that I gave up on it about halfway through. This was a very welcome change.

*There’s a decommissioned Cold War bunker in York that’s open to the public, and the descriptions in this book reminded me of it. It’s well worth a visit if you’re ever in these parts.

The Chosen Ones by Howard Linskey is published by Penguin priced £7.99.

I received an advance copy to review thanks to NetGalley.

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