I am very, very, VERY happy to be the next stop on the blog tour for Outside Looking In (A DCI Matilda Darke novel) by Michael Wood.
About this book…
When elderly George Rainsford goes to investigate a suspicious noise one night, the last thing he expects to find is a bloodbath. A man has been killed and a woman brutally beaten, left for dead.
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 have been desperate to get my hands on this book to read and review ever since I finished For Reasons Unknown back in January. I recommended that book to everyone I know and they all loved it too! So I made sure that Outside Looking In was preordered ready to magically appear on my Kindle on publication day. But would it live up to my expectations after loving the first book in the series so much? Well I am happy to say that not only did it live up to those expectations, it exceeded them!
I will start by saying please do read For Reasons Unknown first. This one could possibly be read as a standalone but I strongly recommend it isn’t! This sequel contains spoilers to that first book and you will get so much more from this one if you have more background information about Matilda and her previous cases. The opening chapter here really is a bit of a shocker and sets the pace for a fabulously suspenseful police investigation. A couple getting ready for bed hear a car horn being bleeped constantly, eventually working out that it is signalling an SOS. The husband goes to investigate further and discovers a disturbing crime scene with one man dead and a woman shot and badly beaten. DCI Matilda Drake is brought in with her MIT team to find their attacker and begins to uncover the secrets hidden by the couple, who were married but not to each other.
What I love about these books is that Matilda is a woman that we shouldn’t really like, she’s a mess emotionally and her career is hanging by a thread still. But there is a vulnerability about her and a rawness to her grief that just pulls you in. She constantly breaks the rules putting others safety above her own. I love her relationship with Adele still but I also found all the characters to be well written and realistic. Once again Sian was there with her snack drawer (no Tunnocks teacakes this time though disappointingly!) to keep them all going and its little touches like this that make me feel so at home in Michael Woods books and in their dark and gritty Sheffield setting.
I really can’t recommend this book highly enough. The series just keeps getting better and I am eagerly awaiting the next instalment now! But when will we be discovering more about THAT kidnapping case? I have a feeling that there is so much more to come there. I just want to finish by observing that throughout this book Michael Wood gives a nod towards some of my very favourite crime writers but he can certainly add himself to that list now as well!
Outside Looking In: A darkly compelling crime novel with a shocking twist (DCI Matilda Darke, Book 2) is available to buy now from Amazon UK