Behind Closed Doors by Elizabeth Haynes

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Behind Closed Doors by Elizabeth Haynes

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Another novel featuring DCI Louisa Smith: this time the problems are missing teenagers who return, apparently from the dead, sex trafficking and murder.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 480 Date: January 2016
Publisher: Sphere
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0751549638

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In 2003 Scarlett Rainsford was on holiday in Rhodes with her parents and sister when she met a boy. Her father wasn't at all keen on the idea so Scarlett crept out at night to meet him and she might have given him the idea that she wanted to run away from home. On the last night of the holiday Scarlett was bundled into a van - and into a life of terror and prostitution. Ten years later she turned up in her hometown when a brothel was raided. Where had she been all these years, how had she got back to the UK and why did her parents not seem all that pleased to find that she was back?

DCI Louisa Smith had worked on the initial disappearance of Scarlett (albeit at a rather lowly level) and it was one of the regrets of her career that the team had not been able to find her. She can't get back the intervening years but she's determined to find out what happened - only Scarlett isn't that keen to talk and doesn't seem to be able to name names. As Louisa and her team delve deeper they mystery widens and the truth, when it's finally unveiled is far more sinister than they could have imagined.

Elizabeth Haynes has a great advantage as a crime novelist (apart from the fact that she writes a brilliant story) and it's that she worked for many years as a police intelligence analyst. In most police procedurals you could be forgiven for believing that the investigation is essentially run by one person who carries all the threads of the investigation in their head and finally knots a few together to find the solution. When you read Elizabeth Haynes you realise that it's far more of a team effort and you get a real feel for the atmosphere in a major incident room.

We first met Lou Smith in Under A Silent Moon and she's developing well as a character but then the whole police team come off the page well. I was hooked by Scarlett Rainsford: unsurprisingly she comes back scarred by all that she's gone through. There's a superficial hardness and underlying vulnerability which Haynes captures perfectly. I was less convinced by the plot, probably because I guessed what was behind the reluctance of the family to meet up again, but that didn't stop the story being a very good read.

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

Behind Closed Doors reads well as a standalone, but I'm sure that if this book appeals then you'd also enjoy Under A Silent Moon. It's not part of the series, but we're still impressed by Elizabeth Haynes' first novel, Into The Darkest Corner.

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