Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Close to Home by Cara Hunter
Series:  A D.I. Adam Fawley Thriller #1
Release Date: 14th December 2017
Publisher: Penguin
Genres:  Thriller / Crime

She was certain it was Daisy in the flower costume . . .

When eight-year-old Daisy Mason vanishes from her family's Oxford home during a costume party, Detective Inspector Adam Fawley knows that nine times out of ten, the offender is someone close to home. And Daisy's family is certainly strange--her mother is obsessed with keeping up appearances, while her father is cold and defensive under questioning. And then there's Daisy's little brother, so withdrawn and uncommunicative . . .

DI Fawley works against the clock to find any trace of the little girl, but it's as if she disappeared into thin air--no one saw anything; no one knows anything. But everyone has an opinion, and everyone, it seems, has a secret to conceal.

With a story that feels all too real, Close to Home is the best kind of suspense--the kind that sends chills down your spine and keeps you up late at night, thrilled and terrified. 


Interview with Fiona Webster, conducted at 11 Barge Close, Oxford 21 July 2016, 5.45 p.m.
In attendance, DC V. Everett

VE: Thank you for seeing me again, Mrs Webster. I know this must be a difficult time for everyone.

FW: Do you know how long the press are going to be here? They’re turning the place into a pigsty. Litter everywhere, beer cans, and as for the parking –

VE: I think you said your daughter, Megan, is in the same class as Daisy?

FW: Yes, that’s right. Though how any of us didn’t notice it wasn’t her at the party, I’ll never know. Apparently all the kids knew the two girls had swapped costumes, but didn’t think to divulge the fact to their benighted parents.

VE: I believe one of this term’s projects was to write a fairy story?

FW: Oh yes, they had a lot of fun with that. Even the boys.

VE: What did Megan write about?

FW: Oh, the usual, princesses and dwarves and wicked stepmothers. Rapunzel meets Cinderella with a dollop of Frozen thrown in for good measure.

VE: Funny how the stepmothers are always wicked. It would make me think twice marrying a man with young kids – seems you’re on a hiding to nothing whatever you do.

FW: Oh, don’t let that put you off. In my experience mothers in general are on a hiding to nothing when they get to this age. You can’t do anything right. In fact I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the wicked witch in Megan’s story is based entirely on me.

VE: Funny you say that. The picture Daisy drew has a woman with shoes just like her mother’s.

FW: Shaz’s stilettos? Oh how funny - did they have the red soles too? Sharon claims they’re genuine Louboutins but personally I think it’s just nail varnish. I’m afraid they’ve become rather her trademark round here – she wears them everywhere regardless of the weather. Or the occasion. I saw her once half stuck in mud on the touchline when Leo was playing football. She did nothing but moan all afternoon. I don’t think she’s been to a match since.

VE: Does Barry Mason go – to the football, I mean?

FW: Sometimes. Not often. He and Leo aren’t exactly close.

VE: But I remember you saying Barry definitely was close to Daisy – the ‘dads and
daughters thing’. Something about him carrying her around all the time?

FW: Well, yes. But I haven’t seen him doing that so much lately.

VE: But they’re close?

FW: What are you getting at? Are you asking me if Barry could have been abusing his own daughter?

VE: Well, could he?

FW: To be honest, it’s not the first time I’ve asked myself that since she disappeared, but I really can’t put my finger on anything one way or the other. He was all over her a year or so ago when they first moved here, but the last few times I’ve seen them together she’s definitely been holding back. But honestly, you could say the same about my husband and Alice. A lot changes between six and eight. Girls just start to get shy, even with their own dads.

VE: And is there anything else – something that may not have struck you at the time,but now –

FW: Actually, there was. I’d completely forgotten, but Barry came to pick Daisy up from school about three weeks ago. He doesn’t do it very often but I think Leo had a doctor’s appointment or something so Barry collected Daisy. I wasn’t close enough to hear what happened but she suddenly started screaming and crying. Which is not like her at all. She’s usually very calm, very ‘composed’. Anyway, Barry played the dippy dad card – the whole lost and clueless what‑do‑I‑do‑now look, you know the sort of thing. Which at the time I just dismissed as another ploy to get the attention of the yummy mummys. But it was a bit odd, now I think about it.

VE: And what’s he like – more generally? With you, say?

FW: Do you mean, has he come on to me? Then yes, he is a bit on the ‘handy’ side – you know the type, always touching your arm, the small of your back. Not safe in taxis, as my old boss used to say. He’s always very careful to stay the right side of banter, but I know what would happen if you gave him the right signals. The sort of bloke who’s always on the lookout, presumably on the basis that if you try often enough the odds are you’ll strike lucky eventually.

VE: And what does Sharon think about that?

FW: Oh Lord, he doesn’t do it around her! She’s the jealous type. Full‑on green-eyed monster. I saw her look daggers at Julia Connor once, just because Barry said something about her looking like she’d lost weight. That’s always a sensitive subject where Sharon’s concerned.

VE: There’s a monster in Daisy’s fairy tale too. One with a snout and a curly tail like a pig.

FW: Well, makes a change from dragons, I suppose.

VE: You haven’t heard anything else about pigs, by any chance?

FW: Pigs?

VE: It came up when we talked to Nanxi Chen.

FW: No, sorry. Rings no bells with me.

VE: I see. Thank you. One final thing, Mrs Webster. Barry’s flirting - is Daisy aware of it, do you think?

FW: Interesting question. She’s very clever. Very observant. It wouldn’t surprise me. It wouldn’t surprise me at all.


Oh my goodness. Can I just start this review by saying Wow! Ok, now for the serious business of a proper review. 

Young Daisy Mason has disappeared from a family BBQ where all her neighbours were also attending.  D.I. Adam Fawley is called into investigate. Adam is fighting his own demons and some people feel he may not be the best person for the job. However, Adam is committed to finding Daisy, or at least find out exactly what happened to her. His biggest stumbling block in the investigation is the Mason family themselves. Her mother is a control freak. She is obsessively tidy and cares only about appearances. Image is everything to her. Her father is secretive and defensive and suspicion falls on him. And then we have Daisy's brother Leo. A heartbreaking character who appears lost, alone and unwanted.

The story is told through a series different mediums - flashbacks and first person from Adam Fawley keeping the reader in the loop with regards to the investigation. I liked this style and it kept me gripped. The public's perception of the disappearance and their damning comments about the Mason family also keep the reader informed. For me, this was the hardest to read. Social media was the judge throughout and no matter what the outcome for the Masons, the world had decided their guilt from the very beginning.  The disappearance of a child is shocking and upsetting and the story is told so well. Issues such as abuse are explored too.

Cara Hunter has written an absolutely wonderful novel that is both shocking and totally absorbing. It was hard to put it down. So hard in fact that I couldn't bear not to read the book while I was in work that I ended up downloading the audio version just for the last few chapters. I needed to know what happened to Daisy. So I sat at my desk, typing up reports and listening to the book. Throughout this book I changed my theory about what happened to Daisy at least a dozen times and by the very end I'd got it all completely wrong despite smugly telling a colleague I thought I had solved the case. The characters are so well put together. I detested Sharon Mason with every bone in my body. She was mean, shallow and cold.  I loved Adam Fawley and his team. Dedicated, smart and committed to finding out what happened to Daisy. I can't recommend this book highly enough!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Close-Home-impossible-Richard-thriller-ebook/dp/B071Z3Z1KN/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1516653445&sr=8-1&keywords=close+to+home https://www.amazon.com/Close-Home-Novel-Cara-Hunter/dp/0143131052/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1516653831&sr=8-6&keywords=close+to+home 

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