Little Sister (Detective Pieter Vos) by David Hewson

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Little Sister (Detective Pieter Vos) by David Hewson

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Part of a series but works very well as a stand alone. The issues covered are up to the minute and the ending is realistic. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 448 Date: May 2016
Publisher: Macmillan
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1447293392

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Late one night, after a talent content on the waterfront, Kim and Mia Timmers returned to their home to find a scene of utter carnage and their mother, father and sister dead. It would have hit any eleven-year-old child hard, but the dead girl, Little Jo, was their triplet and there was a special bond between the three of them. The girls then left the house and apparently murdered the lead singer of The Cupids, a world-famous band, in the belief that he had been responsible for the deaths of their family. Officially there didn't seem to be any doubt about what had happened to the musician, despite the fact that there were certain points about the murder scene which might have suggested that someone with more worldly experience was responsible.

Kim and Mia were sent to a secure unit for juvenile offenders on the island of Marken and ten years later the girls were due for release. They were to begin by going to a halfway house in Amsterdam, but disappeared before they arrived, along with their nurse, Simon Klerk. When the nurse's body was found in a shallow grave on the beach near Marken, DI Pieter Vos was sent to investigate the case. It soon became clear that sinister secrets were being hidden at the centre, which threatened to implicate not just the staff at Marken, but the remaining members of The Cupids, a senior politician and Frank de Groot, Vos's boss. Vos was in the unenviable position of being under public pressure to find the Timmers girls and threats from above to drop the case.

The Timmers sisters pull you two ways: whatever happened on the night they lost their family was the stuff of horror, but if they were responsible for a man's death, are they any better than whoever killed the family? There's such a strong bond between the girls that the reader feels excluded - and it's not helped by the insistence that they, or at least Kim, can hear the voice of their dead sister, Little Jo. It would be difficult to say that they're mentally stable, but how much of this is due to what happened after the talent contest? You feel sympathy for them, want to know how it all turns out, but you're not going to like them.

We hear more from the sisters than we do from the police team investigating the murder of Simon Klerk, but Pieter Vos comes off the page well. I've not read any of the earlier books in the DI Pieter Vos series and didn't find this to be a problem, but I'd certainly be happy to read more. He's a fully-fleshed character but without any of the obvious characteristics with which fictional detectives are usually dressed - he's not an alcoholic, or a womaniser and only falls out with his boss when it's absolutely necessary. I was impressed too by Detective Laura Bakker: she's feisty and doesn't stand for any nonsense.

Some serious issues are covered in the story: I'm not going to tell you what they are as it could spoil your enjoyment, but they're bang up to the moment and handled with sensitivity.

I devoured the story by a mixture of reading the book and listening to an audio download (which I bought myself) with the story narrated by Saul Reichlin. He's an impressive narrator, handling the various Dutch dialects with aplomb. The male voices were more convincing than the female, but not to the point where it affected my enjoyment of the story. I first encountered him when I listened to his narration of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and his is a name I'm always happy to see on an audio version of a book.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a physical copy of the book to the Bookbag.

I've recently read and listened to another book where we heard more from the suspects than the investigators. If Little Sister appeals to you then you might also enjoy Die of Shame by Mark Billingham.

David Hewson's Detective Pieter Voss Novels in Chronological Order

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