I've been a fan of Elizabeth Haynes since I stumbled upon her first book - Into the Darkest Corner. She was quickly added to my list of 'must read every book they write' authors.
Behind Closed Doors is Haynes's fifth book and the second to feature Detective Inspector Louisa Smith of the Briarstone Major Crimes division.
Teenager Scarlett Rainford disappeared ten years ago while on vacation with her family in Greece. Was she taken? Or did she run away? She - or her body -was never found.
Until now. A raid on a local brothel with ties to organized crimes turns up a woman named Katie working there - and Katie says her real name is Scarlett Rainford.
Lou is shaken - she was a young constable who worked on the case ten years and she's always wondered what happened to Scarlett. Did they look hard enough? Did the Greek police follow every lead? And most frightening of all - what kind of life has Scarlett had for the last ten years?
Haynes employs a dual narrative in Behind Closed Doors. We discover what happened to Scarlett in her own voice from ten years ago, but we're also in present day with Louisa as she attempts to piece together what happened to Scarlett all those years ago - and why she is so reticent to reconnect with her family. This technique always guarantees a late night for me. I need to read just one more chapter (and then another 'one more') until I chase down the threads of a character's story. Scarlett's narrative was particularly addicting. (Despite the horrific nature of Scarlett's past, Haynes does not delve into unnecessary graphic detail)
I really like Lou as a character - she's driven, dedicated, not perfect and a bit vulnerable. Her personal storyline reveals a woman torn between job and partner. (Quite fun that her love interest is Canadian!)
The plot and subject matter of Behind Closed Doors is dark and difficult. Haynes handles the crimes, the procedures, the investigation and more with a practiced insider's eye, as she has worked as a police intelligence analyst. A number of these type of reports are part of the book and detail a parallel plot line revolving around organized crime mobs.
Now, I had my suspicions as the book moved towards resolution. I was right in some aspects, but wrong in others. Haynes's writing, plot and characters kept me fully engaged and compulsively reading until the last page was turned. See for yourself - read an excerpt of Behind Closed Doors. A recommended read - and author.
"Elizabeth Haynes is a former police intelligence analyst, a civilian role that involves determining patterns in offending and criminal behavior. She is the New York Times bestselling author of Into the Darkest Corner, Dark Tide, Human Remains, and, most recently, Under a Silent Moon, the first installment of the Briarstone crime series. Haynes lives in England in a village near Maidstone, Kent, with her husband and son." Visit her at elizabeth-haynes.com, connect with her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.