Penhale Wood
On a cold December night in Cornwall, nanny Karen Peterson disappears with three-year-old Sophie Flynn. The next day, the child’s body is found on the banks of Penhale Wood. A year later, Sophie’s mother, Iris Flynn, appears on the doorstep of investigating officer Rob McIntyre, determined to make him reopen the case. McIntyre has his own personal demons, but Iris hijacks his life in order to find the person responsible for her daughter’s death. Following the slimmest of leads, they are soon confronting ghosts from the past and a chameleon-like killer who will do anything to stay hidden.

Penhale Wood Details

TitlePenhale Wood
Author
FormatKindle Edition
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 8th, 2017
PublisherMidnight Ink
Rating
GenreMystery, Fiction, Adult Fiction

Penhale Wood Review

  • Carrie
    June 14, 2017
    Rob McIntyre thought he was going to have the family vacation that he so desperately needed after his girlfriend of ten years had left him however when Rob arrives he finds his brother and his family needed to leave due to an emergency. Finding himself alone and away from home Rob is surprised when the doorbell rings and he finds Iris Flynn on the doorstep.Iris is the mother of Sophie Flynn, a three year old that was murdered the year before and Rob had been a detective on the case. It was belie Rob McIntyre thought he was going to have the family vacation that he so desperately needed after his girlfriend of ten years had left him however when Rob arrives he finds his brother and his family needed to leave due to an emergency. Finding himself alone and away from home Rob is surprised when the doorbell rings and he finds Iris Flynn on the doorstep.Iris is the mother of Sophie Flynn, a three year old that was murdered the year before and Rob had been a detective on the case. It was believed that their nanny at the time, Karen Peterson, was responsible for the death having left with the children that night and disappearing. In the past year there hadn't been any luck locating the mysterious Karen though and now Iris wants Rob to reopen the case. Penhale Wood had the promise to be a completely gripping thriller but unfortunately I found it fell a bit short of that mark while reading. My first complaint really would be some of the actions of the characters really did read as realistic to me with the situation going on in the story making me a bit disconnected with the story afterwards. Also, while we knew from the beginning of the book who was suspected of murdering the little girl what the reader didn't know was what had happened to her. Now to me there didn't seem to be enough twists to really throw my suspicions off in this one although I'm happy to say I wasn't quite right. But that led me to my last though which was I would have liked more of an explanation on the how and why at the end. Overall the story just ended on a kind of average and possibly forgettable note for me.I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.wordpress....
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  • Kathryn
    July 7, 2017
    Oh boy, where to begin..... I’ll start with the positive: Julia Thomas is a good writer. She can craft a sentence well and her prose flows together fairly seamlessly. She has the mechanics down. It’s just her plot and characterization that need work. Inspector McIntyre, our lead detective, is an odd combination of the cliched tough-as-nails copper mixed with a melodramatic 13-year-old. Seriously, in any passage concerning his ex-girlfriend I half-expected to read of him driving to her house and Oh boy, where to begin..... I’ll start with the positive: Julia Thomas is a good writer. She can craft a sentence well and her prose flows together fairly seamlessly. She has the mechanics down. It’s just her plot and characterization that need work. Inspector McIntyre, our lead detective, is an odd combination of the cliched tough-as-nails copper mixed with a melodramatic 13-year-old. Seriously, in any passage concerning his ex-girlfriend I half-expected to read of him driving to her house and holding a boombox outside her window, Peter Gabriel blasting moodily from the speakers. When he’s not behaving in one of the aforementioned states, he’s just….blah. The combination of about 10 previously written literary detectives. He has no defining qualities or spark that make him able to lead a series (if that’s what Ms. Thomas plans for the future). And to make matters worse, his frequent scene partner, Iris, mother of the dead child, is similarly yawn inducing. The saving grace of the novel were the Madeline and Alison passages. They were far more absorbing than anything directly involving the case or our lead detective. Alison (I believe intentionally) came off as rather unlikable. She’s pretentious, smug, shallow, and cold, but at least she was interesting. As for the plot, holy suspension of disbelief, Batman. Now I’m usually really, really good at going with the narrative flow. I can suspend disbelief better than most. I don’t need tons of logic, but goodness gracious. You gotta give me something. I’m not going to print an exhaustive list of things that made me go ‘hmmm?’ Spoilers and all that. But I will mention a couple of early points. So the book takes place a YEAR after the child (Sophie) has died. Since that point Iris, the child’s mother, and her family, have moved from England to AUSTRALIA. Iris returns on her OWN, two days before CHRISTMAS and ends up on the doorstep of the lead detective’s (McIntyre’s) brother’s home begging him to reopen the case. She has no reason or rationale for doing so. There’s been no new information released. She has nothing to share. Just randomly pops over. From Australia. WHAT THE EVER-LIVING F*CK??!! I understand Iris being distraught and wanting to stop at nothing to bring her daughter’s killer to justice. I get that. THEN WHY MOVE TO AUSTRALIA??? And if you’ve had a character move halfway across the globe, then there better be a damn good reason why she’s ended up on a detective’s doorstep 2 DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS. Especially when she has 2 kids under 10 at home. A key memory. Letter from the presumed killer. Spotting of the killer. ANYTHING. “Just ‘cause” doesn’t cut it.. And then there’s the painful relationship between McIntyre and his ex-girlfriend Alison. The book takes place a year post-split. They were together ten years and lived with each other for at least some of that period. One day, Alison randomly up and moves out. No notice, letter, call, text. Nothing. Yet he never asks her about this? Ever? Never thinks to inquire why his girlfriend of TEN YEARS left him? Really?! This is a police detective!!! Their job is based around solving mysteries and discovering essential truths. It doesn’t compute and it’s contradictory to McIntyre’s character. Just….UGH. Despite my negative feelings about Penhale Wood, I’d actually give Julia Thomas another shot. As I said in the beginning, she’s a good enough writer. In future, I’d like to see if with practice she’s able to improve upon her more plot and character-based issues. If so, I think Ms. Thomas might have promise.Thanks to Netgalley & the publisher for my complimentary copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.
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  • joyce g
    March 17, 2017
    Thank you Netgalley and publisher for the opportunity to read this thriller. It was a good fast read, some really nice character development.
  • Elaine Mullane
    June 4, 2017
    Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC of this book.Penhale Wood was a quick and not challenging read. It is the story of a mother's quest for the truth as she tries to uncover the story of what happened to her three-year-old daughter a year before this novel opens. Sophie was with her nanny, Karen, when she disappeared but her body was later found on the banks of Penhale Wood.Iris Flynn enlists the help of the original investigating officer, Rob McIntyre, arriving back at the scen Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC of this book.Penhale Wood was a quick and not challenging read. It is the story of a mother's quest for the truth as she tries to uncover the story of what happened to her three-year-old daughter a year before this novel opens. Sophie was with her nanny, Karen, when she disappeared but her body was later found on the banks of Penhale Wood.Iris Flynn enlists the help of the original investigating officer, Rob McIntyre, arriving back at the scene of the crime in England from her new home in Australia. Although the murderer was never found and the case closed, the nanny was and remains the prime suspect. While this book didn't grab me immediately, I was eager to find out why the killer murdered this little girl. However, the pace wasn't quite as fluid as I had hoped and, for me, the story lagged a little. I didn't engage with any of the characters, if I am honest. In fact, I found the characters of Iris and Rob to be a little irritating. I was intrigued by the story of Rob's previous girlfriend, a crime writer, and thought it worked well alongside the plot. Overall, I felt unsatisfied when I finished Penhale Wood: when the killer is unmasked we are still left in the dark as to why they did what they did. I needed more.
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  • Aleasha
    March 13, 2017
    Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing an early copy in exchange for an honest review.Penhale Wood begins with Iris Flynn, a grieving mother whose daughter was murdered a year before (and the killer never found), arriving back at the scene of the crime (England) from her new home in Australia for a last ditch effort at finding out why this happened to Sophie, with the help of Rob McIntyre - the original police detective. The children's nanny Karen Peterson was the last person wit Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing an early copy in exchange for an honest review.Penhale Wood begins with Iris Flynn, a grieving mother whose daughter was murdered a year before (and the killer never found), arriving back at the scene of the crime (England) from her new home in Australia for a last ditch effort at finding out why this happened to Sophie, with the help of Rob McIntyre - the original police detective. The children's nanny Karen Peterson was the last person with the deceased Sophie and vanished the night of the murder - Karen is the prime suspect. Whilst this story was intriguing and I was itching to find out why the killer murdered this little girl, the characters of Iris and Rob were just that little bit unlikeable and the story lagged a little. The side by side story of Alison Kendall, Rob's previous girlfriend and crime writer was a nice touch alongside the original mystery but all in all I felt a bit cheated as once the killer is unmasked, we never actually find out WHY they did what they did. Not too challenging a read but a bit of a slow burn for me with an unsatisfying ending.
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  • Carlissa
    July 23, 2017
    I enjoyed the writing style of this book, and the characters were interesting and quirky. I was a little disappointed by the ending, the reason that the nanny kidnapped and killed Sophie just didn't seem right. I would recommend this book for fans of British police procedurals.My thanks to Netgalley, the publisher, and the author for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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  • Pamela
    July 20, 2017
    review to come
  • Jo
    April 7, 2017
    I loved the characters in this one. They were rich and intricately drawn. I didn't think the logic of sequence was there at the end. It felt that in order for a big twist, facts were invented to help the twist rather than make for a tight story. But I definitely would read more by this author especially with this protagonist.
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  • Lesa
    July 8, 2017
    Right up front, I'll remind you that I usually don't read "women and children in jeopardy" novels.This is going to sound strange and maybe a little cold, but I read and enjoyed Penhale Wood by Julia Thomas. It wasn't about a child in jeopardy because Sophie Flynn died a year before this book begins.It's Christmastime, and Detective Chief Inspector Robert McIntyre took the train from his Cornwall home to London to be with his brother's family. But, he's not in the mood to celebrate. His girlfrien Right up front, I'll remind you that I usually don't read "women and children in jeopardy" novels.This is going to sound strange and maybe a little cold, but I read and enjoyed Penhale Wood by Julia Thomas. It wasn't about a child in jeopardy because Sophie Flynn died a year before this book begins.It's Christmastime, and Detective Chief Inspector Robert McIntyre took the train from his Cornwall home to London to be with his brother's family. But, he's not in the mood to celebrate. His girlfriend, Alison Kendall had moved out. Now, she's a bestselling author, known all over England. He's gloomy and despondent, but he realizes he could be worse. He could be Iris Flynn, who shows up on his brother's doorstep. A year earlier, Iris' three-year-old, Sophie, was kidnapped by her nanny, and found murdered, left at the edge of Penhale Wood. Now, Iris has flown back from Australia, and wants McIntyre, the investigating officer, to reopen the case. She's there because she's shattered. She can't go on until there's justice for her murdered daughter.McIntyre knows he can't comprehend the depth of a mother's grief. There has been one recent break in the case, but he had refused to deal with it. Now, with Iris demanding answers, he agrees to see a psychic who says she saw the killer and an unusual cat of some sort. Although the psychic's sketch doesn't resemble the missing nanny, that drawing and a photo precipitate events that break the case open, with tragic results.Thomas' second novel, following The English Boys, is a powerful character study. Thomas scrutinizes McIntyre, Iris Flynn, and Alison Kendall, allowing the reader to have access to their thoughts and feelings. The characters' actions are the results of their daily lives, which makes Penhale Wood all the more striking, leaving readers with a great deal to ponder.
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  • Ashley
    June 7, 2017
    Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read an arc copy of Penhale Wood in exchange for an honest review.Penhale Wood is the story of a grieving mother on a quest for answers. Iris Flynn is a broken, grieving woman after her three-year-old daughter Sophie Flynn was kidnapped and later found dead in the river Penhale Wood. The prime suspect was the nanny Karen Peterson but Peterson had disappeared the night of Sophie Flynn's murder. With little evidence to go on, the case wa Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read an arc copy of Penhale Wood in exchange for an honest review.Penhale Wood is the story of a grieving mother on a quest for answers. Iris Flynn is a broken, grieving woman after her three-year-old daughter Sophie Flynn was kidnapped and later found dead in the river Penhale Wood. The prime suspect was the nanny Karen Peterson but Peterson had disappeared the night of Sophie Flynn's murder. With little evidence to go on, the case was eventually closed. A year later Iris Flynn tracks down the original investigating officer, Rob McIntyre, who had been on the case of her daughter's murder. Iris enlists the help of McIntyre in hopes of a last ditch effort in finding her daughter's murderer. While enlisting McIntyre in the chase of solving this case, McIntyre is attempting to cope with his own personal problems. To be honest, Penhale Wood was a challenging read for me. Every now and then I take a step out of my comfort zone and read a book I wouldn't normally read. Penhale Wood was exactly that for me. I wanted to find out who had killed Sophie Flynn and why almost just as much as her mother. While I was able to sympathize with both Iris and McIntyre and the personal struggles they were enduring, I was unable to connect with them on a closer level. Sometime's I struggled to fully understand what was going on. Overall, Penhale Wood was an interesting book that kept me rooting for Iris and McIntyre to solve the case.
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  • Jen
    March 1, 2017
    3.5 starsPenhale Wood A grieving mother seeks help in finding the nanny who killed her youngest daughter and disappeared. The police investigation a year earlier had been unable to locate Karen Peterson, but Iris is determined to find the woman who killed three-year-old Sophie and pleads with Rob McIntyre to reopen the case. McIntyre has his own demons and does not believe that he would do any better now in finding Karen Peterson that during the original investigation a year earlier. He agrees, 3.5 starsPenhale Wood A grieving mother seeks help in finding the nanny who killed her youngest daughter and disappeared. The police investigation a year earlier had been unable to locate Karen Peterson, but Iris is determined to find the woman who killed three-year-old Sophie and pleads with Rob McIntyre to reopen the case. McIntyre has his own demons and does not believe that he would do any better now in finding Karen Peterson that during the original investigation a year earlier. He agrees, reluctantly, to examine the case again, and the two discover a few more faint leads.A number of too neat coincidences, but an entertaining mystery. I liked Thomas' The English Boys better, but Penhale Wood kept me engaged throughout.Read in February; blog review scheduled for June 9, 2017.NetGalley/Midnight InkMystery/Suspense. July 8, 2017.
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  • Sarah
    February 22, 2017
    Penhale Wood was a solid middle of the road thriller. I was not blown away, but I was not struggling too much to get through it. The characters were all just a bit too blurry around the edges, the plot a little too predictable at times. Not terrible, as I said. A worthy airplane read, or a lounging on the beach book.
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  • Elizabeth Barnes
    May 4, 2017
    "All roads lead back to Penhale Wood." "Penhale Wood" opens with Iris Flynn, a grieving mother whose daughter was murdered a year before. (The killer has yet to be found). Arriving back at the scene of the crime in England from her new home in Australia for one last effort to find out why this happened to her daughter Sophie, with the help of Rob McIntyre- the original police detective. McIntyre has his own demons and does not believe that he would do any better now in finding Karen Peterson (Na "All roads lead back to Penhale Wood." "Penhale Wood" opens with Iris Flynn, a grieving mother whose daughter was murdered a year before. (The killer has yet to be found). Arriving back at the scene of the crime in England from her new home in Australia for one last effort to find out why this happened to her daughter Sophie, with the help of Rob McIntyre- the original police detective. McIntyre has his own demons and does not believe that he would do any better now in finding Karen Peterson (Nanny) during the original investigation a year earlier. He agrees, reluctantly, to examine the case again, and discovers a few more leads. This was an "out of the blue" crime novel. The plot was interesting and kept me wanting to read more, but it was too overdone and not original. I wanted to like this novel but there were certain aspects that bugged me: The murderer is somehow presented as an intelligent, sex crazed, sociopath, who has managed to hide from the police for over a year. Yet, the crime she committed is so inexplicable that the two sides of her personality do not match up. The novel seems like it has quickly passed over the murder of a child. I was also disappointed because the women in the novel could have been very interesting. The questions of motherhood, sexuality, and career aspirations are inspired in the story but the author seemed to completely ignore them. The characters also behave in CRAZY ways. This novel was an entertaining mystery, with way too many coincidences. Special thanks to NetGalley & the Publisher for the copy! I give this book a 2 out of 5 stars. 
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  • Julia
    May 8, 2017
    Kirkus gave PENHALE WOOD a starred review on May 1st, 2017! Here are two of the quotes they shared: "A cold case turns hot enough to burn lives to the ground," and "The elegant writing, complex characters, and surprising conclusion all add up to a fine mystery that will appeal to readers of Catriona McPherson's psychological thrillers." This was an exciting book to write, and you can see how much I love creating interesting characters. I hope you will enjoy it, too.
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  • Kath
    July 5, 2017
    Actually 3.5 stars.I really wanted to enjoy this story and, in a strange way, I did enjoy parts of it. Others I did find a bit implausible and a little illogical so the ending never really convinced me as the story didn't really flow nicely and occasionally came across as a tad contrived.The story starts a year in the past with the abduction/murder of three year old Sophie. It has always been suspected that her nanny was responsible but she has never been caught. Fast forward a year and Sophie's Actually 3.5 stars.I really wanted to enjoy this story and, in a strange way, I did enjoy parts of it. Others I did find a bit implausible and a little illogical so the ending never really convinced me as the story didn't really flow nicely and occasionally came across as a tad contrived.The story starts a year in the past with the abduction/murder of three year old Sophie. It has always been suspected that her nanny was responsible but she has never been caught. Fast forward a year and Sophie's mother Iris is back. She turns up one night at the doorstep of the investigating officer Rob McIntyre's brother where he is staying for the holidays and literally bullies him into helping her, insisting she tags along for the ride. They then follow tenuous link after clutched straw to eventually come to a somewhat bizarre and not wholly satisfying ending. I think one of the main reasons I didn't get on brilliantly with this book is that I failed to engage with the characters enough. I didn't get on with either of the main two and there was not enough connection there for me at all on any level with any of the others. This could however be a me thing rather than the author's fault but sadly, it did mar my enjoyment somewhat.There were also a few plot anomalies along the way. There were times when the characters avoided what I would call "the bleeding obvious" for no apparent reason other than I guess to drag it out a bit. I'd love to qualify this statement with examples but they would all be a bit spoilery. Well, either that or the characters were being a bit dense momentarily! Either way, it irked me a tad on occasion. I did get to the end so there must have been something keeping me going but, again sadly, that wasn't really as good as it could have been. I know that not everything in life is tied up with a neat bow and I am happy to embrace endings that are a wee bit ambiguous but for me there was too much left unexplained and I wasn't left satisfied. Either that or I missed something, which is perfectly possible.So, we are left with the eternal question... would I read this author again? I would have to answer that yes, I probably would but I would pay attention to the reviews before taking the plunge.My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.
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  • Leeanna Weaver
    July 7, 2017
    An evocative title and cover whet the reader’s appetite for a tale as dark and chilling as a twisted path through a winter forest. The tragic disappearance and murder of three-year-old Sophie Flynn has investigators stalled for answers, and the case has become as cold as the winter nights in the novel’s Cornwall setting. Sophie’s mother, Iris, has spent a year in the depths of grief. The events surrounding her daughter’s death don’t add up, and she is determined to find justice, no matter the co An evocative title and cover whet the reader’s appetite for a tale as dark and chilling as a twisted path through a winter forest. The tragic disappearance and murder of three-year-old Sophie Flynn has investigators stalled for answers, and the case has become as cold as the winter nights in the novel’s Cornwall setting. Sophie’s mother, Iris, has spent a year in the depths of grief. The events surrounding her daughter’s death don’t add up, and she is determined to find justice, no matter the cost. She risks her ties to family and her own safety to return to the scene of the crime and demand her daughter’s case be re-examined. Iris is unrelenting as she persuades DCI Rob McIntyre to use unconventional means to find the truth about Sophie’s death. McIntyre is vulnerable from his own complicated and solitary life when Iris turns up on a lonely Christmas Eve to implore him to help her. Together they go down the rabbit hole to find answers in a plot packed with breathtaking twists and turns. The conclusion of this taut psychological thriller is satisfying, yet leaves room for the reader to ponder future outcomes. Detective McIntyre and his on-the-spot colleague, DS Dugan, make a solid sleuthing pair. Readers can hope for another case featuring these engaging characters.
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  • Leith Devine
    July 7, 2017
    I liked this book. I had trouble getting into it, but the plot turned interesting and the pace picked up about a 1/3 of the way through the book. After that I was invested in the ending, which was a surprise. Penhale Wood tells the story of a mother named Iris Flynn looking for justice for her murdered daughter. She can't move on with her life until the case is solved. She knows the nanny, Karen Peterson, killed Sophie, but Karen disappeared over a year ago and the case has gone cold. The origin I liked this book. I had trouble getting into it, but the plot turned interesting and the pace picked up about a 1/3 of the way through the book. After that I was invested in the ending, which was a surprise. Penhale Wood tells the story of a mother named Iris Flynn looking for justice for her murdered daughter. She can't move on with her life until the case is solved. She knows the nanny, Karen Peterson, killed Sophie, but Karen disappeared over a year ago and the case has gone cold. The original detective, Rob McIntyre, is frustrated that he never closed the case but there are no leads to follow.Iris returns to England from Australia and tracks down Rob McIntyre over the Christmas holidays. She convinces him to take another look at the case, and they find a new lead. The plot was well conceived and the writing was good, even though the book took a while to get going. The characters were interesting but a little shallow. I liked the ending.I recommend this book. It was a good read, and I hope the author writes more mysteries.Thanks to Midnight Ink and NetGalley for the ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Catherine
    July 2, 2017
    I had a little trouble getting into this book at first, but after the first 40 pages I got really hooked. It has a lot of good twists and turns. I'm giving it four stars instead of five because there's one thing about the ending that I felt was too much of a coincidence that I felt wasn't explained that well (I hate giving spoilers in reviews, so I know this is vague but explaining it would give too much away). One thing I will point out, although maybe I'm just dumb -- there is a Boston in Engl I had a little trouble getting into this book at first, but after the first 40 pages I got really hooked. It has a lot of good twists and turns. I'm giving it four stars instead of five because there's one thing about the ending that I felt was too much of a coincidence that I felt wasn't explained that well (I hate giving spoilers in reviews, so I know this is vague but explaining it would give too much away). One thing I will point out, although maybe I'm just dumb -- there is a Boston in England. I was so confused about how these characters were getting back and forth between the U.S. and England -- they weren't! Ha ha. Overall I really enjoyed this book. It's a good read.
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  • Charlene
    July 6, 2017
    Penhale Wood depicts every parent's worst nightmare - the loss of a child at the hands of a trusted carer. Who can one trust? How does one know if that trust is well placed? This is a riveting book which draws the reader into all of the emotions evoked by the loss of a child - devastating sadness, hopelessness and, not least, an overwhelming guilt. The plot with its surprising twists keeps the reader on the edge of the seat. The characters are well portrayed and I hope that DCI Rob McIntyre make Penhale Wood depicts every parent's worst nightmare - the loss of a child at the hands of a trusted carer. Who can one trust? How does one know if that trust is well placed? This is a riveting book which draws the reader into all of the emotions evoked by the loss of a child - devastating sadness, hopelessness and, not least, an overwhelming guilt. The plot with its surprising twists keeps the reader on the edge of the seat. The characters are well portrayed and I hope that DCI Rob McIntyre makes an appearance in future books. Thanks to Midnight Ink and NetGalley for the ARC.
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  • Kathleen Gray
    July 10, 2017
    I wanted to like this more than I did. It's got an interesting, if not original premise, and the promise of two interesting characters in Iris and Rob. Unfortunately, at least, for me, there weren't many surprises so while it was an easy read to while away some time, it wasn't a demanding one. Thanks to netgalley for the ARC.
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  • Shannon Kline
    July 17, 2017
    I am biased because I know the author, but I enjoyed this book. :)
  • Louise
    March 5, 2017
    I'm afraid it never got beyond ok for me.I felt there was no real depth to the characters,and ultimately felt a little frustrated the murder wasn't explained properly.We knew who,but why?
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