After reading Louise Phillip's Debut novel, Red Ribbons, I was delighted to win a copy of her new book via her Facebook page. There's nothing better than opening the post and finding a book, with a personal message written by the author inside.
This is the story of Clodagh and her voyage into the past to try and decipher some disturbing memories of a tragic childhood. She lost her Father and her baby sister in two separate incidents and now her Mother has passed away. Her marriage is frail , as is her relationship with her daughter, and she is battling an addiction.
Thinking the best way to move forward is to go back, she begins to visit a hypnotherapist to aid her recollection of childhood and help her make sense of her memories.
Alongside Clodagh's story is the return of DI O'Connor and criminal psychologist Dr. Kate Pearson, who are called in to investigate the murders of a prominent TV personality and a homeless man. Is there a connection between the murders? Why does Clodagh have a feeling she knows the dead men?
The opening few chapters of this book are fast, furious and full of graphic details. Not for the faint hearted, with a vivid description of the rape of a young girl. The writing of this event is phenomenal, the character is immediately hateful and will stay with you well after you have finished the chapter.
The pace changes with the discovery of the famous murder victim and we are introduced to a large pool of new characters in relation to the investigation.
There is still some tension between O'Connor and Kate, with the latter adjusting to some changes in her life.
The politics in policework are still there also, with O'Connor trying to be on his best behaviour while biting his tongue.
As I got further into the book it became very obvious that Louise Phillips has a huge talent for writing from a man's point of view. This was also true of her first novel. However, there was a bit of repetition within chapters, as Kate would give her opinions to O'Connor and then he would repeat them to the investigating team at a later stage.
I really found myself looking forward to turning the page and finding a chapter about Clodagh's sessions with her hypnotherapist, as these were insights into the mind of a woman who has managed to block out a lot of her childhood memories. It was well researched, described at a gentle pace and was intruiging.
The author has a gift of bringing darkness into the minds and lives of regular people and although I found the investigation chapters a little hit and miss, the main story of Clodagh and her troubled past and present was definitely bang on......
I am really looking forward to the next novel from this gritty, dark and talented Irish author!
The Doll's House and Red Ribbons are published by Hachette Ireland and are both available in paperback and ebook format.
Louise Phillips can be contacted via twitter @LouiseMPhillips.