The darkness closed around her. She tried to clear her vision, but there was no light, no noise, nothing. Only the emptiness, the echoing sound of being alone. Fear pulsed through her. The man had come out of nowhere. Who was he? Blinking away tears of frustration, in the pitch black she felt the floor and walls surrounding her. Cold. Steel. Bars.
Detective Ellie Reeves heads into the wilds of the Appalachian Mountains when she wants to get lost––to forget the whispers chasing her and the past that keeps her up at night. She’s sick of having to prove herself to her small town.
But hiking in the endless miles of woods isn’t the escape she was hoping for. One night, as dusk falls, a gust of wind blows some petals on to Ellie’s path. Following the trail, she finds a golden-haired young woman dead on a bed of daffodils, with a note: Monday’s child is fair of face.
When Ellie emerges from the forest, there is a message on her phone. Someone has sent her a picture of her colleague, Officer Shondra Eastwood, with the words: Can you find her, Detective Reeves? Ellie is racked with guilt––while she was busy hiding from life a killer was on the loose, and he has taken her beloved friend.
The wilderness, and its shadows, are the perfect hunting ground for a criminal––but what does the sinister nursery rhyme mean? It soon becomes clear when another dead woman, Tuesday’s Child, is found.
Ellie is up against a serial killer who will claim a victim for every day of the week, and in the next twenty-four hours there will be another body. As this ruthless murderer closes in on her, can she save more innocent women––and Shondra––from his clutches? Or will he get to Ellie first?
I realised as soon as I was into the first chapter that I was reading the sequel of a previous book. The characters are already formed and interact well with one another, showing previous relationships and a backstory. And this is okay, there is enough spoken dialogue and internal dialogue that explains both the action and the denouement of the first book.
I liked the story, it is a good plot with an even pace, and enough twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. And I did like the author’s narrative writing style.
There were only a couple of things that disappointed me: the dialogue sometimes (and it is only sometimes) is written in a ‘telling style’, as though as an explanation to the reader. And, although the outdoor settings are evocative, occasionally there is unnecessary repetition. The initial descriptions are excellently written, but then there are extra clauses that aren’t needed and so slow down the action.
However, this doesn’t happen in the sections which describe the “Cold. Steel. Bars.” the last place the victims know. ( I try not to give spoilers in my reviews – it’s a little difficult here) Suffice it to say, these well written settings are both sinister and chilling to read.
I found the explanation of the symbolism of wild flowers and nature fascinating; it’s obvious the author has researched this extensively and has cleverly interwoven them with the story.
All in all, I enjoyed the read and have no reservations in recommending this book to readers of crime fiction.
Many thanks to the author, Bookouture and NetGalley, for the copy of Wildflower Graves, in return for an honest review.