Suspects by Lesley Pearse: An enthralling plot and a cast of fascinating characters - book review -
It should be a day to celebrate as Nina and Conrad Best move into their first new home together in a picture-perfect neighbourhood tucked away in Cheltenham.
But when they learn that a teenage girl has been found battered to death in the woods behind their house that morning, it’s just the start of a tangled web of lies and suspicion which will encompass every resident in the quiet street.
Suspects is the latest twisting, turning tale of mystery, murder and human discord in a thrilling and suspense-packed novel from one of the nation’s most prolific and best-loved authors.
For over twenty-six years, Lesley Pearse has been delighting her army of fans with gripping and emotionally powerful novels featuring tales of courage and adversity, and this intriguing new page-turner takes us behind closed doors and deep into the heart of dark family secrets.
Florist Nina and care worker Conrad Best have been dreaming of owning their own home for a long time and as they move into their first house together in quiet Willow Close, the young couple hope it will be their ‘forever home.’
But as they round the corner into the close, the first thing they see is horrified neighbours gathering around a police cordon. Nina and Conrad hurry inside with their belongings but they are soon informed that one of the residents, 13-year-old Chloë Church, has been attacked and brutally killed in the woods.
Believing someone must have seen the murderer, DI Jim Marshall and his murder squad start to interview the residents of Willow Close and soon find out that each neighbour harbours their own secrets.
A child murder is always an emotionally fraught case for the police team and it seems that everyone on the close is far from what they seem. Strange, even dark, things happen behind their closed doors, and some will go to extreme lengths to prevent exposure.
The dead girl’s parents, Mike and Ruth Church, regarded their only child as ‘the jewel in their crown’ and the police inspector suspects that some of the neighbours are jealous of them.
As the image of a ‘perfect place to raise a family’ starts to tarnish, Nina and Conrad’s plans for the future begin to unravel. They thought they had found their dream home but have they moved into a nightmare instead?
Over ten million of Pearse’s books have sold worldwide, earning her a reputation as a favourite author, and Suspects is a fast-paced, psychological drama which explores the repercussions when a small, tight-knit community is torn apart by a shocking murder.
There is a dark edge to this family crime mystery as secrets are revealed, suspicions arise, tensions bubble to the surface, and neighbours start to suspect each other of murdering the tragic teenager.
With an enthralling plot, a cast of fascinating characters, and Pearse’s addictive storytelling, Suspects will grip from start to finish.
(Michael Joseph, hardback, £20)