The Night Caller – J.M. Hewitt | @jmhewitt @bookouture

Detective Carrie Flynn has spent twenty years searching for her little sister, who was kidnapped and never found. The worst part for Carrie is that she was with Hattie on that hot summer day. Carrie saw her sister’s abductor, but she was just a little girl herself, and remembers nothing. She will never forgive herself for letting Hattie down. 

When the chance came to join the police force, Carrie didn’t hesitate. She would solve missing person cases and fight for justice – no more families stuck in limbo, no more grieving mothers, no more sisters growing up alone… But now a serial killer is stalking Carrie’s hometown of Manchester: late at night, people are going missing down at the canal. Six years, a dozen disappearances.

When another victim is taken, Carrie is sure the family is hiding something and she’s determined to find out the secret behind their silence. Why does the mother not want to answer Carrie’s questions? Who is the mysterious girl next door? Carrie knows that to track down the killer, she must find out everything she possibly can about the innocents they have chosen to hunt. 

Carrie holds on to one fact: last year, standing by the water, she caught a glimpse of the killer, and the distinctive tattoo on his arm. He slipped through her fingers, but she won’t let it happen again. She’ll never stop searching, for the grieving families, for her belief in justice, and her hope that, one day, something she finds will lead her back to her lost little sister. 

Can she finally solve the case that has cast a long shadow over her career and will the demons in her own past help her to catch this deadly killer?

If you love Val McDermid, Robert Dugoni or Angela Marsons you won’t be able to put down this dark and twisty thriller. J.M. Hewitt will keep you guessing until the very last page. 

The Night Caller was published on the 15th August 2019 by Bookouture. Many thanks to the publisher for my copy of the book for this review.

The Night Caller features DS Carrie Flynn and her DC, Paul Harper who are investigating the murders of numerous men who are seemingly pushed into the canals that run through Manchester by a mystery killer who has been operating for a number of years. Simply the police have very little concrete to go on, just hunches based on the lifestyles of the victims and an apparent change in MO for the murderer.

Whilst the description focuses on Carrie, for me the book was actually about the victims family and friends, showing the impact that a murder investigation has on those closest to the victim and the range of emotions that they go through. Jordan Robinson goes missing on a night out and his mother’s life changes instantly, Emma starts walking the canals hoping to find a trace of Jordan, to find out some answers as to what happened to him. Jade, Emma and Jordan’s neighbour who is actually more like family is extremely concerned for her friend especially when a blast from the past arrives on the scene.

The Night Caller isn’t that simple (of course!) as it is clear from the outset that Jordan led a very private life with people knowing very little about him, also a lot of people are hiding secrets of their own and as these start to be revealed, the book really gathers pace as you are not sure who to suspect and what to believe.

The author creates a really creepy Manchester where you feel as though you would be constantly looking over your shoulder whilst being down near the canals….not sure how popular the bars would be near the water’s edge!

I did enjoy The Night Caller and the different perspective it gave to a police investigation but at the same time, I do look forward to getting to know Carrie better, to see her step into the main character role and find out her back story that is alluded to within this book description.

A solid start to a new series and a new-to-me author.

Living in Felixtowe Magazine, Suffolk

J.M. Hewitt writes crime fiction and is the author of two previous crime fiction novels and has been published in two short story publications. Her work usually incorporates twentieth and twenty-first century events and far flung locations, and her novels explore the darker side of human behaviour.

In contrast to the sometimes dark content of her books, she lives in a seaside town in Suffolk with her dog, Marley. 

When she was ten years old she’d read all the books she owned, all those on her mother’s bookcase and everything the library had to offer. She decided the only course of action to take was to write her own stories. Thirty years later, she is still writing them.

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