Don't Make a Sound by David Jackson - book review: Mind-blowing, spine-tingling and with a sensational twist in its tail

Any self-respecting crime thriller fan will already have met Liverpool cop DS Nathan Cody'¦ and if you haven't, maybe now is the time to join him on his darkest, most terrifying case yet.
Dont Make a Sound by David JacksonDont Make a Sound by David Jackson
Dont Make a Sound by David Jackson

Don’t Make a Sound is the third book in Wirral-born David Jackson’s outstanding police series which has propelled this exciting and talented author into the upper echelons of crime writing, and stars a wonderfully complex and dogged detective haunted by events in his past.

Jackson, who possesses a somewhat alarming talent for grisly, gruesome murders, has the ability to send his readers running for cover and this new extraordinarily creepy, disturbing and tense outing for Cody – the follow-up to A Tapping at My Door and Hope to Die – will have readers reaching for the light switch the moment that darkness falls.

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A brilliant tour-de-force from first page to last, Cody’s investigation into a chilling and deeply unsettling child kidnapping features Jackson’s trademark blend of expertly drawn characters, a plot with more twists than a corkscrew, and breathtaking insights into the minds of both hunters and hunted.

Malcolm and Harriet Benson appear to be just an ordinary couple. Both in their fifties, they keep themselves to themselves, they wash their car, mow their lawn and pass the time of day with their neighbours.

What their neighbours don’t know is that the Bensons also have a beautiful ten-year-old daughter called Daisy. She spends her days and nights in one room in the house, a room where she must eat, sleep, wash and do everything to please her parents.

There is just one very disturbing problem… Daisy is not the Bensons’ daughter. She calls Malcolm and Harriet ‘mummy and daddy’ but she knows they are not her real parents. Daisy was taken from her real parents three years ago.

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And now the Bensons are planning to bring a new ‘daughter’ to their home… six-year-old Poppy Devlin has been in Malcolm’s sights for weeks. He has done his research, has countless photos and videos, and knows every daily move of Poppy and her mum and dad, Craig and Maria.

And when Poppy goes missing, it’s just the start of a nightmare for her parents and one of the most gruelling and emotional investigations yet for DS Nathan Cody of Liverpool’s Major Incident Team, a man still bearing the mental and physical scars of a disastrous undercover mission, and his sidekick DC Megan Webley.

Because Poppy wasn’t taken ‘on impulse’ but by someone who had deliberately targeted her, and Cody has ‘a feeling’ about this case, a feeling that it isn’t going to end well…

With its terrifying child kidnap plotline that goes straight to the heart of any parent, and a fascinating, multi-faceted narrative that allows us to follow the thought processes of police, victims and perpetrators, Don’t Make a Sound is a gripping, white-knuckle journey that chills because it seems so palpably real.

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Through a drip-feed of shocking discoveries and an insidious ratcheting up of electrifying tension, we feel the terror, experience the menace and observe the action, not from the sidelines but from deep within the enveloping darkness.

At the heart of the story is Nathan Cody, a man whose life seems to be perpetually engulfed in trauma. He is the lynchpin of this impressive and intriguing series... his dangerous vulnerability, his intriguing on-off relationship with Webley, and the mysterious threat that casts a shadow over his life add a powerful punch to each new investigation.

Mind-blowing, spine-tingling and with a sensational twist in its tail that will put readers in a spin, Don’t Make a Sound is an impressive contender for psycho-thriller of the year.

(Zaffre, paperback, £7.99)