Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Bookish Thoughts: Behind Closed Doors by Elizabeth Haynes

To being with, nothing was certain except her own terror. ~ Opening of Behind Closed Doors



Behind Closed Doors by Elizabeth Haynes
Harper, 2015
Crime Fiction; 496 pgs

Behind Closed Doors by Eizabeth Haynes is the author's second book in the Detective Inspector Louisa Smith series. Much like the first book in the series, Under a Silent Moon, Haynes takes the reader into the heart of a police investigation. Where this book differs, however, is in its presentation and intensity. Interspersed with the investigation is the third person narrative from young Scarlett, retelling her account of being kidnapped and her eventual return to her hometown ten years later. It is a harrowing story, one that feels all too real.


Louisa, or Lou as she is often called, is already in the middle of two other investigations  (that of a 19 year old who was badly beaten and the murder of a bar owner found half buried in the woods) that may or may not be connected, when she is asked to assist with another investigation, that involving a 10 year old missing person case.  Lou had been on the team initially investigating the disappearance of the 15 year old girl named Scarlett in the beginning. Scarlett disappeared while out of the country with her family on vacation. No evidence turned up, nor did the girl.  Her family hadn't been especially forthcoming with information, which raised a lot of questions. Did the girl run away? Was she abducted? Or had she been killed?  No one knew.  At least not until Scarlett was discovered 10 years later in a brothel in Briarstone.  

Interest in Scarlett is high given her ties to a human trafficking ring.  The authorities would love it if she could provide them with key names and connections in order to finally bring down some major players in the industry.  Only, Scarlett isn't talking.  She holds her secrets close.

The reader gets a little more intimate look into the lives of two of the series' continuing characters. There is Louisa Smith, whose work is her life. She struggles with commitment issues and letting herself love. In some books, the love story lightens the overall story arch of the book, but in this case, it adds to the complicated person Louisa is and just how all consuming her work can be. I think Jason, her love interest, is a wonderful man--supportive and thoughtful.  I also know that if Lou doesn't open herself more fully to him, she is going to lose him.  

Then there is DS Sam Hollands who also played a prominent role in previous book.  Lou trusts her and relies heavily in Sam's abilities in being able to connect with people, and with good reason.  She is extremely capable. Lou assigns her to Scarlett in the hopes Sam can get Scarlett to open up about her experiences.  Sam finds herself drawn to the other woman, who seems both fragile and strong at the the same time. Sam struggles internally with keeping her distance and getting too close. Haynes allows the reader to see a side of Hollands we haven't yet seen before--and may I say how much I love the character? I could easily see her as the main character in a book.

What most impressed me about Behind Closed Doors was how accurate and close to reality the novel was. I am sure the author's background as an analyst in law enforcement and her extensive research played a part in that. Scarlett's story of human trafficking is a familiar one for those who work with people who have been forced into that life, from her childhood background to the life she was forced to lead. As a parent the very idea of human trafficking chills me to the bone. I imagine it would even if I wasn't a parent.  Using humans in that way . . . It's appalling and horrific.  Human trafficking is very much a problem of today, and the more people become aware of it, perhaps there is a chance lives can be saved.  

Scarlett is an incredibly strong woman who has been through a lot.  It is hard to know whether one can trust her or not as the story continues. Why does she insist on keeping so many secrets? Is it fear? Or something else. She clearly is a victim--a survivor--and I, as the reader, could not help but feel for her and care about her.  Her relationship with her family is not a good one, glimpses of which the reader gets throughout the novel.

Despite the fact that this novel stands very well on its own and does not require the reader having read the first book in the series, there are some continuing story threads which I especially liked and gave me, as the reader, a better sense of Briarstone and the community--at least the criminal side of it. Reading Behind Closed Doors made me appreciate Under a Silent Moon more (if that's possible) as a result.

As always, I enjoy being able to see the inner workings of an investigation, how seemingly random information can eventually come together to form a full picture and solve a crime. Haynes is an incredible writer who has the ability to make the minutest of information seem interesting and significant to the story. And she has a way of drawing out her characters that is both subtle and full. I have yet to be disappointed by one of her books, and this one is no different.  

At almost 500 pages, I never felt the book needed less--it was just perfect. While the intensity in this novel was high, I admit there were moments I had to set it down for awhile, the darkness of it was too heavy, the reality of it too frightening. It's books like these that scare me more than any horror novel ever could because of how true to life it is. Elizabeth Haynes has officially become one of my all time favorite crime fiction writers. I hope you will give her books a try.

Rating: * (Very Good +)

To learn more about Elizabeth Haynes and her books, please visit the author's website.

I hope you will check out what others had to say about Behind Closed Doors on the TLC Book Tours route!


Many thanks to the TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to be a part of this book tour. Copy of book provided by publisher for an honest review..




© 2014, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

26 comments:

  1. Great review, Wendy! I'm currently reading this and I admit the topic is both dark and horrific. While this is a fictional work, what happened to Scarlett is true events to some victims in reality. I'm looking forward to reading how Louisa and her team solved the case.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Melody - Thank you. I hope you like this one as much as I did, Melody. It is dark--and scary to think what happened to Scarlett is happening to others all over the world right now.

      Delete
  2. I enjoyed the first book in this series so much. This one is next on my list to be read. Good to know that it is so thrilling. I've had really good luck with the books I've read this year. I'm betting this one will just add to the "loved it" list.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kay - Haynes continues to impress me as an author. I just love her books. I hope you like this one when you get to it.

      Delete
  3. Totally intrigued by this author and this series. I don't read too much detective series, not because I don't enjoy them (which I do) but because there are so many out there that they feel repetitive and sometimes just not good enough. This one is going on my list.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Athira - I know what you mean. I think this series is worth trying though if you want to read a police procedural type series. It's set in England too, which is always a plus for me. :-)

      Delete
  4. Human trafficking is despicable. I don't know if there is more going on in the real world than ever before or if it is just receiving more exposure, but it is making the news almost daily.

    This is a series I need to try.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jenclair - I agree! I tend to believe human trafficking has been a problem for a long while, but it is getting more exposure these days. I know there's been a huge shift within law enforcement and government agencies in providing services for victims of human trafficking. And new laws are in place which carry stronger penalties for those involved.

      Delete
  5. Wow, this sounds so relevant. I saw a billboard yesterday and human trafficking in South Carolina and our area was listed as one of 4 or 5 that in the state that they receive the most calls from. I was shocked and appalled.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kathy - Yes, it is very relevant to what is going on in the world today. I remember attending a training a couple of years ago where a detective listed places in the area in which recruitment takes place and I was stunned at how many are places I was familiar with and sometimes frequent.

      Delete
  6. A great review... Another book to add to my list! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nikki-Ann - Thank you! I hope you like it if you do read it.

      Delete
  7. I really enjoyed the first in the series so I'm glad to see this held up well. I'm also thrilled that we see more of Sam. I really liked her in Under the Silent Moon. Great review! I'm looking forward to this one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Katherine - Me too. Sam is one of my favorite characters. I hope you like this one when you read it!

      Delete
  8. I read Into the Darkest Corner and found it quite intense and somewhat creepy. I didn't read Under the Silent Moon but based on your review and your commenters' thoughts, I will add it to my list and then move on to this one also. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rita - I do recommend Under a Silent Moon. It's written in such a different style than Into the Darkest Corner. I think you might like this one too, although be warned that it is dark.

      Delete
  9. This sounds very good. Glad for this review as the books were new to me

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mystica - I hope you will give this series a try if you get the chance!

      Delete
  10. This definitely sounds like my cup of tea, albeit a disturbing novel. Excellent review! I love the way you described this novel's realism.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Irene - I would be really curious to know what you think of this if you do read it. I can see you reading this one. :-)

      Delete
  11. I like the idea behind this novel, I think it is interesting to see it from that perspective like you said. I always appreciate any book that would be believable and realistic enough, putting you in the character's shoes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jillian - You certainly get a good idea of the fear and hopelessness a person might feel in Scarlett's shoes.

      Delete
  12. I hope I get to discover this series this year. It really sounds wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
  13. The cruelty of humanity is mind blowing at times ... fiction simply can't create anything worse than reality. It's scary. I'm glad you can recommend this book even though it was heavy reading at times! Thanks for being a part of the tour.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heather - I really enjoyed this one. I highly recommend it.

      Delete

Thank you for taking the time to visit Musings of a Bookish Kitty. Don't be shy! I would love to hear from you. Due to a recent increase in spam, I will be moderating comments for the foreseeable future. Please be patient with me as it may take a few hours before I am able to approve your comment.