No Way Out – Cara Hunter

HUNTER pulls another crime from today’s headlines in the third riveting case in suburban Oxford for DI Fawley and his murder squad.

Previously we’ve had a child snatched from a birthday party and a girl escaping years of imprisonment in a cellar.

This time a house fire leaves a mother and child dead, another child in hospital, and a father nowhere to be seen.

Esmond, a university lecturer, was last seen heading for an academic conference in London but it appears he never arrived.

Initial inquiries reveal a complaint from a female student and a rival academic with a grudge, but there were also dark things going on in the Esmonds’ family life that put them in danger.

Hunter again tells a gritty, fast-moving story with short scenes, plenty of twists, snippets from the cops’ private lives and – her particular trademark – punctuating the narrative with social media comment, news reports and flashbacks.

It’s a slick package that keeps the pages turning as Hunter reveals new, beguiling aspects to the mystery at a rapid pace.

This third outing for DI Fawley isn’t as gripping or original as the first two novels, but that’s hardly criticism because they were a hard act to follow, and No Way Out certainly doesn’t disappoint.

* Published on April 18.

David Knights