The Search by Howard Linskey
Someone knows where the bodies are buried…
Little Susan Verity went missing during the heatwave of 1976. An unprecedented amount of police resource went into finding her, but to no avail. Until now.
Convicted serial killer Adrian Wicklow was always the prime suspect. In the past, he’s repeatedly lied to the police about where Susan’s body is buried – playing a sick game from behind bars.
But this time, he says, he’ll tell the truth. Because Adrian Wicklow is dying.
Detective Ian Bradshaw works with investigative journalists Helen Norton and Tom Carney to find the body. However, this is Wicklow’s life’s work. Would a murderer on death’s door give up his last secret so easily…?
Whenever I hear Howard Linskey has a new book out, I am automatically interested!
The Search is the third novel in his Durham series, which centres around Detective Ian Bradshaw and Journalists Helen Morton & Tom Carney. I would equally recommend the others in the series #1 No name Lane and #2 Behind Dead Eyes.
The Search opens on the 20-year anniversary of the disappearance of missing little girl Susan Verity. The novel is set between two eras, with 1996 being the present and the backdrop of the disappearance in 1976. We meet oddball Billy Thorpe, who was the last person to see Susan alive. He is rather obsessed with the case and uses it to gain sympathy from people. Convicted serial killer Adrian Wicklow is thought to have killed Susan, however with no body and little evidence was unable to be formally convicted for it. Which leads to speculation and mystery of if he did it or if the killer is still out there?
The 1976 case is complex, with rumours the Durham police force beat Wicklow to obtain a confession and that they in some way, messed up the original investigation. It is known as Durham’s greatest unsolved mystery and with the 20-year anniversary documentary looming, Detective Ian Bradshaw is asked to re-investigate. With the original police officers now retired or moved on, it presents as a difficult case to tackle. Frustrated with the old evidence and on orders from the police hierarchy Ian decides to visit Wicklow…..
Wicklow is currently residing in solitary confinement, he has cancer and only has weeks left to live. Wicklow is known to use interviews with psychiatrists, victim’s family members and police to exercise his control over them and initiate minds games. With victim’s bodies still missing and a lack of understanding about why he did what he did Wicklow holds all the cards, or does he?
Billy continues to be a pest and involve himself in the media surrounding the anniversary. We learn through the story there were 6 children playing in their constructed den in the fields that day. They remain affected by the case to the present day and they are widely known as cursed due to the incident. But what secrets do Susan, Andrea, Michelle, Danny, Kevin and Billy hold? 6 cursed children went into the den, 5 returned and 1 went missing, never to be seen again!
There is a secondary story when Tom meets Lena who is searching for her sister Jess in Durham. He agrees to help her in her search but Helen is more reluctant. There is an air of tension between Tom, Helen, Lena and Philip in this novel. Which slowly unfolds within the novel.
Wicklow gives Bradshaw a Dictaphone tape of his life story. Is this one of Wicklow’s mind games? Can Bradshaw decipher the past to find answers? Did Wicklow murder Susan? Their interviews continue and they make for chilling reading. Wicklow attempting to exert his authority over Bradshaw and Bradshaw becoming more and more sickened by Wicklow. The case continues to build, it becomes more and more complex, what really happened that day? Where is poor Susan verity?
I really enjoyed this crime fiction novel and look forward to reading more in the series and more by Howard Linskey. The Search is released tomorrow (4th May 2017).
My Blog will also feature a review for the #BlogTour of Howard’s other novel out this month, Hunting The Hangman. A WW2 novel of epic proportions, released 25th May and published by No Exit Press. My blog post is planned for the 18th May 🙂