The Lucky Ones by Mark Edwards is a terrifying new thriller that follows a down-on-his-luck dad and his bullied son, an out-of-place detective, and a serial killer that connects them all.
Read Debbie Meldrum's review, and then make sure to sign in and comment below for a chance to win a copy of The Lucky Ones!
Ben Hofland’s life went sideways the day he walked in on his wife and his long-time friend together. He moved back to his old hometown in Shropshire with his eleven-year-old son, Ollie, to regroup. Even back home, things aren’t going well. Ben’s mother is terminally ill, he is out of a job, and their next-door neighbors have loud fights at all hours of the night.
Ollie is also not adjusting to the upheaval in his young life the way Ben had hoped. He takes his son out for a day of exploring. They end up in a place called The Museum of Lost Things. Ollie becomes interested in a pile of old comics, so Ben continues by himself.
I climbed to the dusty top floor and found myself in a room filled with objects of a more sentimental nature. A locket containing a photograph of a little girl. A cheap-looking engagement ring. A packet of photographs depicting a family seaside holiday. A baby’s rattle. An urn that supposedly contained someone’s ashes. As I contemplated the urn, a man entered the room. He was tall and slim, with sandy hair. His head was down so I didn’t see his face, but from his clothes I guessed him to be in his late twenties. Oddly, he turned and left immediately after he saw me, acting like he’d intruded on something.
Meanwhile, DI Imogen Evans is also trying to adjust to her own move to the country. Many of her coworkers resent her. Being the lead on “The Viper” murders has not helped matters. A year in, they are no closer to catching the killer. Her superior may be regretting his decision to make her lead on the case. Plus, a hotshot reporter from London is calling her out at every turn.
Imogen figured the best way to deal with Karen, who had less charm than some of the murderers Imogen had put away, was to be assertive. Don’t back down because, if you did, the pathologist would push you to the ground and walk all over you.
Soon after they’d met, Imogen had persuaded Karen to go out for a drink. Watching the other woman sip at a small glass of wine, pulling a face like it was pure lemon juice, Imogen had asked Karen why she’d chosen to be a pathologist.
“I don’t get on very well with people,” she’d replied. “Not ones who are still breathing, anyway.” Another wincing sip of wine. “And the dead rarely disappoint me.”
She had to be taking the piss, surely?
Small towns. They always seem so peaceful and friendly. Everyone knows everyone else. That is the best thing about small towns—but it’s also the worst. It makes it difficult to keep secrets, even relatively innocent ones.
The characters who inhabit this small town are familiar, but each one has their own twist to keep them from being clichés. Surfaces can be deceiving. The author gives the reader plenty of viable suspects and potential victims. A few could qualify as either. I found myself rooting for some to make it through and—I’m a little ashamed to admit—for one or two to fall prey to The Viper.
While I’m confessing, I have to admit that I’m a sucker for a story with multiple points of view, especially when the shifts are done well—and The Lucky Ones does them extremely well. One point of view we get is that of the murderer, which is a nice device to give the reader a hint at motive without a lot of exposition by either a long Bond-style monologue from the bad guy at the end or by a forensic specialist profiling from two fingernail clippings and a rare moth.
Most people think of a “summer read” as a light, fluffy story—something read in an afternoon at the beach or while sipping iced tea on the veranda. But if you’re looking for something more substantial that will still keep you turning the pages to find out what is going to happen next, this just could be the one for you.
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Debbie Meldrum reads just about everything she can get her hands on. She was the short fiction editor for Apollo's Lyre and the Editor in Chief of the Pikes Peak Writers NewsMag. She's currently putting the finishing touches on her first novel.
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