About the book
Published: 28th January 2016 (Carina)
Don’t go into the woods. Because you’re in for a big surprise…
In an old album there is a beautiful Victorian photo that captures three young sisters, staring silently at one another. Only the trained eye can see the truth hiding in plain view. One of the sisters is already dead.
Annie Ashworth is currently off duty. With her baby bump growing fast, she is under strict instructions to stay away from police work and look after herself, especially as she has a history of leading danger right to her door. So when her police officer husband, Will, is called to the discovery of a skeleton buried out in the local woods, Annie tries to keep out of the investigation. But as another body is discovered and her own niece suddenly goes missing, staying away just isn’t an option.
As Annie is soon to discover, a picture really does tell a thousand stories. But which one leads to a killer?
The gripping new detective thriller that will haunt you
The Girls In The Woods opens in Victorian times introducing the concept of ‘memento mori’ photography, the taking of photos of the recently deceased with their loved ones as one final memento before they are laid to rest. We are then transported to 1995 and introduced to Heath who’s grandfather is dying, whilst he isn’t keen on seeing his grandfather close to death, he is fascinated by seeing him once he had past. Whilst clearing out his grandfather’s possessions, he finds his ‘Memento Mori’ album which kick starts his unhealthy obsession the beauty of the male or female form after death which is an interesting subject!
This is the backdrop to an investigation after the remains of 2 girls are found in the woods behind the home of Heath and his ever suffering wife, Jo. Heath is a bully and abuses Jo however he is a charming photographer with a studio at home which Jo is banned from entering unless invited. Heath is extremely controlling of Jo so she is understandably terrified of him and does not disobey his orders.
Will is investigating as to how the remains came to be in the wood and his wife, Annie, is desperate to help but is on maternity leave ahead of the birth of their first child. Annie literally bumps into Jo and forms a friendship with her. It is clear that Annie has been through a lot in the preceding years (and books in the series) therefore wants to help Jo as she can see that something isn’t right.
There is also a paranormal element to this story as Annie can communicate with the dead so starts to see injured girls trying to tell her what happened to them. The paranormal side is interesting and adds an additional depth and voice, but could worked without this.
The Girls In The Woods is actually book 5 of a series, I haven’t read the preceding books but I followed the plot easily and worked out what had happened in past books because of Phifer’s recaps during the narrative. Whilst this could be read as a standalone, I believe that it would be beneficial to read the series in order to truly appreciate the back story and why Annie and Will are where they are today.
An enjoyable read with twists and turns along the way keeping the reader’s interest right through to the very end.
Thank you to the author and NetGalley for my copy of The Girls In The Woods.
About Helen Phifer
Helen lives in a small town called Barrow-in-Furness with her husband and five children and has done since she was born. It gets some bad press, but really is a lovely place to live. Surrounded by coastline and not far from the beautiful Lake District. She has always loved writing and reading, she loves reading books which make the hair on the back of her neck stand on end. Unable to find enough scary stories to read she decided to write her own.
Her debut novel ‘The Ghost House’ was published by Carina UK in October 2013 and went on to become a best seller along with the rest of the Annie Graham series. The Secrets of the Shadows, The Forgotten Cottage, The Lake House and The Girls in the Woods. Her next book The Good Sisters which is a stand alone, ghost story is released on the 13th October 2016.