you were in charge of finding a teenage girl who went missing during a
family vacation in Rhodes but failed to recover the girl or her body.
Then, by chance, ten years later, you find her back in the UK and
working in a brothel under an assumed name. Contrary to your
expectations, neither the now young woman nor her family seem eager to
see each other. DCI Louisa Smith isn't sure what to make of it. The book
opens with the girl's story:
To begin with, nothing was certain except her own terror.—Behind Closed Doors by Elizabeth Haynes (HarperCollins / Harper, 2015, opening paragraph)
Darkness, and stifling heat, so hot that breathing felt like effort, sweat pouring off her so her skin itself became liquid and she thought she would simply melt into a hot puddle of nothing. She tried crying out, screaming, but she could barely hear her own voice above the roar of the engine, the sound of the wheels moving at speed on tarmac. All that did was give her a sore throat. Nobody could hear her.
- Setting: UK (outside of London); Greece; Amsterdam
- Circumstances: DCI Lou Smith is investigating a murder, an assault, and the abduction / discovery of Scarlett Rainsford. Because Scarlett is reluctant to tell her story to the police, Lou asks DS Sam Hollands (a specialist) to talk with the young woman. Meanwhile the DCI turns her attention to the other cases. As the investigations progress, Lou begins to think the three violent crimes may be related, but before Scarlett can reveal her secrets, she once again goes missing.
- Characters: DCI Lousia Smith, DS Sam Hollands, and others in the police department; Scarlett Rainsford, her sister, and her parents; various victims and bad guys
- Genre: mystery, thriller, police procedural
- Topics & themes: family, human trafficking, relationships, women's issues, survival
- What reviewers have said: Most reviewers comment on the taut, tense story, on the realistic (sometimes uncomfortably so) plot, and on the believable characters
- Extras: The story is told from the alternating points of view of the three women (Lou, Sam, Scarlett). The author has experience as a civilian police analyst who worked with criminal behavior data; she wrote about the inspiration for this novel on her website. This is the second installment in a series featuring Lou Smith