Dark House by Helen Phifer
A shadowy figure in the dark was dragging something heavy behind them. Lizzy pulled the covers over her head, then realised what was being dragged…
For years, the Moore Asylum housed the forgotten children of Brooklyn Bay. But now, a man is found brutally murdered in the derelict building, strapped to a steel trolley, launching a terrifying investigation for Detective Lucy Harwin.
Lucy quickly discovers the victim was once a Moore Asylum doctor, and when a woman also linked to the home is found murdered on her doorstep, Lucy knows she must dig into its history. What dark secrets lie within the asylum’s walls – what was the scandal leading to its closure thirty years ago?
With her own demons to fight, Lucy starts to uncover the heartbreaking tale of the Moore Asylum children, and begins to wonder: who will be the next victim?
Detective Lucy Harwin #1
A new series by an author whose novels I have previously enjoyed!
I was quite easily #Sold!
I realised the second the series, Dying Breath was due for release and decided to catch up with the first in the series beforehand!
So hold fire, my review for Dying breath, will be following shortly!
The synopsis details the location of Brooklyn Bay and more importantly the crumbling Moore Asylum! Once a home for mentally ill children, the asylum is now a decaying mess left to rot. Much like its patients of 30 years ago. But what was the scandal that finally closed the asylum?
The prologue opens back in September 1975, there are several chapters from this era which slowly unravel the brutality rolled out within the asylum’s walls.
The prologue tells us about Alice (15yrs) and Lizzy (9yrs), their budding friendship and what they witness happen to little Tommy with his ‘treatment’.
Make sure you hug and kiss your children, before you tuck in to read!
The Moore asylum ‘treated’ a wide range of children’s needs. From those who are mentally ill, to those who would nowadays, live with their families in a much more accepting society. I myself, am the mother of an 11-year-old autistic boy. Who has exhausted main stream education settings. I was well aware, as I turned the pages, had he been born within a different era. Life wouldn’t have been so beautiful for him.
The mistreatment and abuse of children in settings, originally designed to protect and nurture them, is mainstream news. It is still happening to this very day!
But back in the 1970s, with fewer safeguards, abuse was rife!
DI Lucy Harwin is called to the derelict asylum, with reports of a dead body at the scene. Lucy, her partner Mattie and pathologist Dr Catherine Maxwell discover that the body appears to have sustained, a death inducing injury, similar to that of a lobotomy!
But who would want to lobotomise an old man? Why choose this location? And who is the victim?
Lucy’s personal life unravels throughout the novel and she makes for a likeable character and protagonist. Lucy is a career copper and has at times put duty before her family. Ultimately paying the toughest price in the breakdown of her marriage. Her teenage daughter now blames her and is rebelling beyond Lucy’s reach.
Lucy has it far from easy………
The case advances at an easy pace, allowing the reader to fully absorb all the details. The past of the asylum is explored and there are chapters from the killer’s perspective. I was gripped on the chapters from September 1975. I was desperate to learn more about the asylum and its former patients/inmates.
When another dead body is discovered, and the victim also has links to the asylum. The coppers know, the answers lie in the past.
How many more lives must be destroyed at the Moore asylum?
This novel is a police procedural, mixed with a creepy asylum backstory. The characters are interwoven perfectly!