The Chosen Ones by Howard Linskey
Eva Dunbar wakes in a large metal box.
She has no idea who has taken her.
She has no way out.
She isn’t the first young woman to disappear.
And with no leads Detective Ian Bradshaw has precious little time.
When at last a body is found, the police hope the tragic discovery might at least provide a clue that will help them finally find the kidnapper.
But then they identify the body – and realise the case is more twisted than they ever imagined . .
I am a huge fan of Howard Linskey’s crime fiction novels and also his ww2 novel Hunting The Hangman. He certainly is a man of many talents. The Chosen Ones centres around the disappearance of several women in 1997. It is not for the faint of heart, the opening scenes set the tone perfectly.
Eva Dunbar awakens in a large metal box, she is terrified of her surrounding and unsure how she ended up there. She is aware she is wearing different clothes and her bra is missing. She feels hazy as though she has been drugged. But it is at the moment of noticing some markings on the wall that her reality sinks in.
The markings signify the number 5, 5 days? 5 weeks? 5 months? Or 5 years? And with that Eva descends into a screaming frenzy.
DS Ian Bradshaw is back, in the previous novel we witnessed a sick twisted killer attempt to get inside Bradshaw’s head. I wondered what tricks the author would have up his sleeve this time that would add to the torment of Bradshaw. They start almost immediately when he is summoned to DI Kate Tennant’s office. With eight coppers suspended over a recent corruption sting. The police force is undermanned and overworked. Bradshaw is quickly and without any real say, handed the case of ‘the disappeared’.
He has the case file exactly 5 minutes when a call comes in of a body found.
Bradshaw is met at the scene by DC Hugh Rennie, who is close to retirement. The victim has been tied to a tree in an almost ritualistic manner. But she is too old to be one of ‘the disappeared’ that is until Rennie takes a closer look and recognises her from a previous case.
With a link established between the victims. The coppers are left to wonder if this is the same killer and if so why has he struck again. Bradshaw asks DC Malone to trawl through the case files from 1979. What she uncovers is, five women went missing in 1979-1980. Only one was ever recovered. . . until now!
Due to the lack of staff and support, Bradshaw is allowed to bring in investigative journalists Tom Carney and Helen Norton. I really love this angle to this series and the dynamic the three personalities bring to the case.
Meanwhile, across Durham a young woman named Jenna Ellison starts receiving threatening and intimidating notes…
‘I know who you are’
As Bradshaw, Tom and Helen attempt to establish a link between the victims, they find none. Nothing links these five current missing victims. They all have different appearances, colour of hair etc.
When Bradshaw attends the post mortem of the current victim from a 1979 abduction. It adds more mystery than clues. The victim was suffering from severe liver and kidney damage. She also had a severe case of rickets. Did the woman abuse alcohol? Has she been forcibly malnourished? Where has she been for the last 18yrs?
There are scenes from Eva’s point of view in captivity, they are tense and scary. You begin to urge the police to find something, some clue that can free Eva.
This novel is intense but what really struck a chord with me, is that it is so close, to a possible true story. The sort of story you’d read online in sheer horror and disbelief. 5*
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