Wednesday 11 October 2017



If you love psychological thrillers, discover a new novel today which will have you gripped from start to finish!

Family. Secrets. Murder.

Newly promoted DI Kate Fletcher has reluctantly returned to her home town after a twenty-year absence and a recent divorce.  The discovery of a child’s body near the estate where Kate grew up has her rushing back to Thorpe – a place of bad memories and closed mouths.

As her team investigate the murder, they keep hitting dead ends. The community is reluctant to reopen old wounds and retell old stories.  But Kate’s history refuses to stay buried.

Then another child disappears…

Can Kate solve the case and right the wrongs from her past?

A gripping suspenseful thriller full of twists and turns. Heleyne Hammersley is the author of Forgotten and Fracture.

A police procedural for me to get my teeth into here with Heleyne Hammersley’s Closer to Home.

Verdict? I really enjoyed it.

Our setting is a town called Thorpe in South Yorkshire, which back in the 80s was a die-hard mining community. We have a seven year-old girl who had gone missing and whose body has just been found at an abandoned quarry and the police are now involved. Our main focus is DI Kate Fletcher. Fletcher has old ties to the town, having grown up there at the height of the strike. She’s a reluctant returnee, with less than fond recollections of the place.

Hammersley flip-flops the narrative, with a few chapters set in the 80s at the time of the miner’s strike and we learn why Fletcher was happy to leave. Her father was in a different job and different union to the majority of the men-folk in the town and as a consequence was still working, when most other families were suffering extreme hardship. Kate and her sister became targets at school for the bullies and her father relocated elsewhere to remove the girl’s from a poisonous environment. Thirty years on, there’s folk with long memories who still find it difficult to give her the time of day despite a child’s life being on the line.

I might have enjoyed a few more flashbacks in the narrative as the discontent and rancour of a time of great social and political strife – Thatcher vs Scargill – offers great material for an author.

Anyway, back to 2015 – there’s a murderer to find. Fast forward a bit and a second child has disappeared. Also found murdered. Fletcher and her team have to pull their fingers out and find the killer before the situation gets any worse.

I liked the presentation of the investigation, with the difficult family interviews and the detection of the lies and partial truths from one of the witnesses and the use of a computer expert, digging into the pasts of those involved and the local history which came to light. I enjoyed Kate Fletcher’s tenacity and doggedness and her willingness to pursue a lead when she was being told her focus was mis-directed.

Overall, lots to like – pace, setting, plot, a bit of a dual narrative, a bit of a history lesson, a decent main character and support cast, a logical investigation and a believable outcome.

4.5 from 5

Heleyne Hammersley has two previous books to her name – Forgotten and Fracture.

Her website is here. Facebook page here. She’s on Twitter - @hhammersley66

Read in October, 2017
Published - 2017
Page count - 262
Source - review copy from publisher Bloodhound Books (cheers Sarah)
Format - Kindle


  1. Sounds good. Val McDermid's A Darker Domain is a really good book connected to the miners' strike.

    1. Paul cheers. Not sure if I have that one among my McDermid stash, I'll have a look.

  2. This does sound like a good read, Col. When it's done well, the use of two timelines can be really effective. And I like the use of the miners' strike as a context. As you say, lots of interesting material there for a story.

    1. Margot, I really liked this one on a couple of levels. It was an interesting time in the UK, not least because I was just turning into adulthood myself and forming lots of opinions on things.

  3. This sounds very good, Col. I like police procedurals, and the flashbacks to the 80s sound appealing too.

  4. Col, for some reason I like novels set in the backdrop of mining and mining communities, even if this one is so directly. Perhaps, it has to do with my liking for Westerns.

    1. Prashant, I'd forgotten that mining provided the back-drop to many Westerns.