I’ve always enjoyed Elizabeth Haynes’ storytelling, and couldn’t wait to get my hands on her latest Briarstone series, Behind Closed Doors!Behind Closed Doors by Elizabeth Haynes
Series: Briarstone Major Crimes #2
on March 31st 2015
Genres: Police Procedural
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An old case makes Detective Inspector Louisa Smith some new enemies in this spellbinding second installment of New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Haynes’s Briarstone crime series that combines literary suspense and page-turning thrills.
Ten years ago, 15-year-old Scarlett Rainsford vanished while on a family holiday in Greece. Was she abducted, or did she run away from her severely dysfunctional family? Lou Smith worked the case as a police constable, and failing to find Scarlett has been one of the biggest regrets of her career. No one is more shocked than Lou to learn that Scarlett has unexpectedly been found during a Special Branch raid of a brothel in Briarstone.
Lou and her Major Crime team are already stretched working two troubling cases: nineteen-year-old Ian Palmer was found badly beaten; and soon after, bar owner Carl McVey was found half-buried in the woods, his Rolex and money gone. While Lou tries to establish the links between the two cases, DS Sam Hollands works with Special Branch to question Scarlett. What happened to her? Where has she been until now? How did she end up back here? And why is her family—with the exception of her emotionally fragile older sister, Juliette—less than enthusiastic about her return?
When another brutal assault and homicide are linked to the McVey murder, Lou’s cases collide, and the clues all point in one terrifying direction. As the pressure and the danger mount, it becomes clear that the silent, secretive Scarlett holds they key to everything.
Disclosure: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Elizabeth Haynes’ Behind Closed Doors is the second in the police procedural series featuring Detective Chief Inspector Louisa Smith. This one’s dark and grim, and we’re not even dealing with murder. Or rather, the focus of the story isn’t on the murders; this one’s got sex trafficking at its core.
The Plot: A ten-year missing person shows up out of the blue, found in a raid on a local brothel. How Scarlett Rainsford wound up close to home when she disappeared while on holiday in Greece ten years ago, nobody knows – and she’s not talking. How this relates to the other bodies that on DCI Smith’s plate, nobody knows. And so Louisa digs through past investigative reports and current intelligence updates to try and find a link, any link, to try and get Scarlett to open up.
I loved the plot. I didn’t enjoy it, because there’s nothing enjoyable about reading about someone’s kidnapping into sex slavery, but I did appreciate the details and the deftness with which Haynes tells Scarlett’s story.
The Characters: Oh, Scarlett. To have lived through so much and still endure, is an amazing feat of willpower. I loved Scarlett as a character. Sure, she’s silly and makes a lot of questionable decisions at the beginning of the story, but she was only fifteen and hated her parents – and while most will ask “Which teenager doesn’t?” there’s an undercurrent of something foul that comes across, right from the very beginning. And so this teenager, in rebelling against her parents’ control, daydreams about leaving them and finding a happier life.
DCI Louisa Smith is fleshed out more in Behind Closed Doors, with a boyfriend she’s not sure she should have, a relationship she’s not sure she wants to share with her family, and a self-worth in the dumper where matters of the heart are concerned. She’s still sharp and quick on her feet though, and that makes her alright in my books.
The Story: Haynes alternates the telling of Behind Closed Doors using different points of view and past-vs-current timelines. Scarlett’s starts off hopeful and quickly veers into the abyss of fear and disillusionment. Her journey from Greece to sex shops all over Europe, then back to England, is not easy to read. Her experiences, even less so.
Louisa’s switches from her murder cases to her relationship, with a few stops along the way for Scarlett’s story. I really liked Sam in the role as Scarlett’s questioner-slash-protector, and I pretty much hated everybody else who had a part to play in Scarlett’s story. They can go rot in hell for eternity. Except for her younger sister, but that’s about it.
Behind Closed Doors is a worthy addition to the ranks of police procedurals, though the focus is more on this victim than the cop. In my opinion, fans of the genre will be doing themselves a disservice if they haven’t yet met DCI Louisa Smith. And fans of the gripping, dark thriller will want to get acquainted with Elizabeth Haynes’ work.
drey’s rating: Excellent!
Have you read Behind Closed Doors? What did you think? And if you haven’t, read on to win your own copy!
Thanks to the publisher and TLC Book Tours, I have one copy of Behind Closed Doors for you. This one’s open to US residents only; no PO Boxes please. To enter, fill out the form below before April 30th. Good luck!