by Val Collins
Publication date: February 23rd 2021
Genres: Adult, Thriller
“There’s a lunatic out there who butchered five innocent people and nobody is looking for him.”
Aoife Walsh has plenty keeping her busy—finalising her divorce from her manipulative husband, settling into her still-new relationship with Detective Conor Moloney, and trying to win the trust of his teenage son. So for the moment, her fledgeling career as a freelance journalist has been put on hold.
Then comes the horrific news that an entire family has been slaughtered in their own home. Aoife is shocked to discover two of the victims were members of her on-again-off-again book club. Even more disturbing is the revelation that the police believe it was a murder-suicide.
That’s when Aoife receives a tantalising offer. Lisa, the main suspect’s sister, will grant Aoife access to the victims’ extended family for an exclusive news story—if Aoife will help find the real killer. Moved by Lisa’s unwavering belief in her brother’s innocence, Aoife agrees to help.
As she digs into the secrets of her fellow book club members, Aoife discovers potential suspects everywhere: people having affairs, a jealous husband, and a power-hungry business partner who’s clearly hiding something.
Aoife keeps pulling at the threads of the story, untangling more and more deception. Is the killer really dead and buried? Is it someone Aoife already knows? Could the lunatic be closer than Aoife ever imagined?
You won’t be able to put down this twisty thriller from international bestselling author Val Collins.
She read the note again.
Twice in the past three years, similar notes had been splashed all over the newspapers. She knew immediately what it meant, but her brain wouldn’t allow her to process it. For several minutes she just stared at it. Her lips formed words that never came. When her brain caught up, it went straight to denial.
This could not be happening.
Things like this did not happen in ordinary families.
Not in families like hers.
She pulled down the door handle. The door was unlocked. That was a good sign, right? She would go into the house and find everything exactly as it had always been. There just had to be some simple explanation for that note. Yes, she nodded to herself, relieved to have come to a decision. She nudged the door open and put one foot on the wooden floor. The house was eerily quiet. No kids running around. No noise from the kitchen.
‘Now don’t panic,’ she muttered to herself. ‘Everything will be fine. Just go inside.’
She tried to lift her foot, but her brain wouldn’t cooperate. Hands shaking, she pulled out her mobile and dialled 999. She was still frozen in the doorway when the police arrived.
It took Aoife a few seconds to realise Conor wasn’t listening. His eyes were focused on a point behind her head, and his face had taken on that wooden expression, the only expression he had shown her in the first few months of their acquaintance.
‘Is something wrong?’
Conor didn’t appear to hear. He pushed back his chair and walked away. Aoife glanced behind. She saw a woman hurry towards him. They met in the centre of the room. The woman wore jeans and a rain jacket. She had shoulder-length chocolate-brown hair, pulled back into a tight ponytail. She was a little older than Conor, probably in her mid-thirties. Not stunningly pretty by any means, but good looking. She was gesticulating wildly as she spoke. Conor answered her in a low voice. For the sake of appearances, Aoife picked at her food, but she concentrated hard, trying to catch their words above the noise of the crowd. Conor’s voice was a low hum, but she clearly heard the woman say ‘not answering my calls’ and ‘what do I have to do to get…’
Abandoning any pretence at politeness, Aoife turned in her chair and stared. Conor now had his hand on the woman’s arm and was leading her towards the exit. She jerked her arm away. Her eyes met Aoife’s. She said something which Aoife didn’t catch and tried to push past Conor. Conor’s hand was on her arm again, but this time his grip was tighter. The woman tried to yank her arm away but was unable to get free. There was a lull in the conversation as people watched the drama. The restaurant manager approached. He and Conor exchanged a few words. The manager took the woman’s other arm and they led her to the door. The woman struggled but couldn’t escape. As the manager went to close the door behind her, she turned to face them. Again, her eyes met Aoife’s. She was crying.
Val Collins is the author of the award-winning psychological thriller GIRL TARGETED, the international bestseller ONLY LIES REMAIN and her new release THE SILENT SPEAK. All three books feature heroine Aoife Walsh.
A native of Ireland, Val began reading at the age of three and still devours books at the rate of one per week. Her favourite authors range from Philippa Gregory and Sophie Kinsella to Lee Child and Linwood Barclay.
Join Val online at valcollinsbooks.com, and on social media @valcollinsbooks.