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The Bad Place: 1 Paperback – 4 May 2020
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"A fantastic debut: dark, addictive and original. I couldn't put it down." --Robert Bryndza on It Was Her
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About the Author
- Publisher : Head of Zeus GB (4 May 2020)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 368 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1788548280
- ISBN-13 : 978-1788548281
- Dimensions : 12.7 x 3.05 x 19.69 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 55,950 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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The Bad Place was a remote farm where over 20 years ago 6 kids were taken and held hostage. Only 5 of them got away. Now the surviving 5 hold an annual candlelight vigil for their friend Becky who didn't make it out. This year one of them witnesses a young girl being kidnapped and the memories come flooding back. It is the first of many bad things to happen to these people and DI Sasha Dawson is called into find the girl and stop whoever is doing this. She believes it all stems back to the Bad Place, a case where she was a young WPC at the start of her career.
Thanks to NetGalley and Head of Zeus for my advanced copy of this book to read. All opinions are my own and are in no way biased
Introducing DI Sasha Dawson. Although I am not a fan of the strong ballsy female type, Sasha is different. She is strong but not bitchy; she is open-minded but fair; she is sensitive, likable and yet she is still fallible. I like Sasha, though I could throttle her kids, and her relationship with her team is a good one with each bringing their own strengths to the investigation. I hate in-house fighting and to see a team work well together is a refreshing change.
Twenty six years ago, 6 teenagers were kidnapped and held in a dank dark cellar for two weeks. Only 5 make it out alive. But it takes the abduction of three children today to discover the truth from back then. Now every year the surviving victims meet for dinner and a candlelit vigil for their lost friend, Becky, with the unspoken condition that no one talk about what happened.
But this year is different. On the way to their annual vigil, one of the survivors witnesses a young girl being abducted. However, Lydia is not a reliable witness having struggled with addiction for most of her life since their time in "the bad place". The rest of them pass it off as a fantastical delusion Lydia had obviously misconstrued, given her behaviour has always been somewhat erratic. But then the next day, a report of a 15 year old girl having gone missing rings in their minds. Maybe Lydia WAS telling the truth after all.
Enter DI Sasha Dawson of Essex Police.
Sasha is no stranger to "the bad place" case. She'd been a week into her career and was just a probationary constable when the case broke, the victims escaped and had been there at Jerry Swann's final stand. She remembered one of the girls, Karin McCarthy, and had spoken to her the night of their escape and her face had haunted Sasha since. Now 15 year old Sammi was missing and aside from Lydia witnessing the abduction which had taken place near Karin's house, there is another link to "the bad place" five. One of the other survivors, Michelle, was Sammi's godmother. Coincidence? Sasha thinks not. What is it about these five remaining survivors that holds the key to Sammi's abduction?
Then another child is taken - directly in front of Karin and Simon, who was another of the five survivors. Luke, a teenage boy from Karin's school. Simon tried in vain to intervene and is met with brute force from the masked abductor and pushed into the path of busy traffic. So what links the past to the present? That is what Sasha endeavours to find out.
In the midst of this major investigation, Sasha's own personal life is in meltdown. Her husband is seemingly depressed and showing no interest in her or the children - he won't even talk to her, feigning tiredness. Her mother decides to leave her father and move in with them, creating chaos at home trying to create some boundaries with Sasha's children and their screentime use. Added to that, her teenage children are constantly bickering and then her daughter is accused of bullying, after telling her mother that she was the one being bullied. But to make matters worse, her usually placid husband punches the next door neighbour which is videoed by her daughter's friends and then streamed online. Can life be any more chaotic?
But juggling her private life with this troubling investigation into the abduction of two teenagers soon becomes personal for Sasha when her own daughter Angel disappears. And then all bets are off.
Told in dual timeline format, we are privy to the two weeks in the cellar of "the bad place" and what happened to the six teenagers as each snippet is unveiled gradually. The question of why didn't Becky escape with the rest of them remains forefront in everyone's mind. Who knows the truth? And what are they not saying?
The setting is around Southend in Essex (often known as Southend-on-Sea) and I find this a refreshing locale, away from the bigger cities of London, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle which are so often featured. The imagery of waves upon the beach and the mile-long pier - which is the longest in the world - is breathtaking. I could almost feel the salt air on my face.
What I love about THE BAD PLACE is that while it is a police procedural it also has that edge of a psychological thriller. It is fresh, it is intriguing and it is completely compelling. The chapters are short and punchy keeping you engaged throughout and, while you can put it down if need be, you won't want to. Despite the characters aplenty, it is easy to follow and identify who was who and where.
A frenetic pace was perfectly timed to keep the reader completely engaged makes THE BAD PLACE a hard book to put down. I wanted to "just read one more chapter" before bed but soon found myself finishing in the wee hours.
I look forward to catching up with Sasha Dawson and her team again soon.
An addictive crime thriller, I thoroughly recommend THE BAD PLACE to anyone who enjoys this genre.
I would like to thank #MKHill, #NetGalley and #HeadOfZeus for an ARC of #TheBadPlace in exchange for an honest review.
Top reviews from other countries
The Bad Place is a thriller where nothing is at it seems. Many years after the terrifying kidnapping took place, the children who were involved, now adults, still meet up and raise a toast to the friend they lost that night. It’s their own way of remembering her, even though some of them no longer see eye to eye. During one evening, when they are hosting a planned get-together, one of them witnesses a kidnapping. It terrifies her into thinking that their kidnapper has returned, but how could it be him when he was killed on the night they were rescued? We are then introduced to DI Sasha Dawson, who was a constable in the police force when the five children were found.
I really liked Sasha. She is determined to put the victims of the crimes first at the forefront of her mind. But her dedication to her work does garner some criticism from her mother. Sasha’s mother fears Sasha is letting her family slip by the wayside and this begins to cause a lot of frictions. Sasha’s mother is quick to let her feelings be known, which does cause some tension between them. Sasha’s home and work life are weaved together very well, and there was a very good balance between the two.
As I was reading this book, I kept thinking that there must be some truth in the speculation that something very dark had yet to be uncovered. After the young girl is kidnapped in the present day I had suspicions about a few people who I thought could be involved. There were quite a few red herrings planted which were skilfully weaved into the story and I didn’t predict the final outcome.
The book had such a chilling opening, and I was hooked right away. I flicked through the pages as fast as I could to find out how everything was going to come together at the end. When the final revelations were revealed, I couldn’t believe what I was reading.
The Bad Place is a brilliant introduction to DI Sasha Dawson, and I am definitely keen to read more books featuring her. You’ll be racking your brains right the way through trying to work out just what is going on here and when the final truth hits, it will be shocking. Very, very good.
Mark Hill delivers a fast paced and instantly gripping thriller with a deft balance of gritty realism, a well written cast of characters, a plot that twists and turns through every chapter and a genuine level of warmth and humour that immediately endears the reader to Sasha and her team. I was completely hooked from the first page. A brilliant new series and I'm already looking forward to book 2. Highly recommended.
The story opens in very dramatic fashion. A hostage situation which soon escalates and results in a very traumatic and shocking opener that will stick with you throughout the book. Which is just as well as this is the set up and premise for an investigation which is full of tension, mystery and threat that will stretch this new team to their limits.
I don't want to say too much about the story apart from the fact that Dawson and her team find themselves investigating the disappearance of a young girl with harrowing links to the case that forms the opening of the book. That was Dawson's first case on the job and when it looks like history may be about to repeat itself, it soon turns very personal for the Detective and her team.
I really enjoyed the way the author wove the two stories together, that of the abduction of a group of teenagers some years earlier, and the more recent abduction that one of them witnesses. The threads all slowly draw together, allowing a clearer picture to be formed but not without devastating consequences and dark revelations being made along the way. The tension ebbs and flows, the list of suspects is long, and the truth that is being withheld is quite shocking in its reveal.
I really liked the character of Sasha Dawson. She's not your everyday super young and ambitious, sometimes hard headed leader that has come to typify a lot of recent books. She is strong but in a way that is encouraging to colleagues and far less confrontational than many characters. She doesn't feel like a cliche. Wife and mother, she is not infallible, and her detecting skills do not seem to stretch quite as far as past her front door. She bares scars, sometimes hides emotion, but I did warm to her quickly as I did (the majority of) her team.
It was certainly an interesting introduction to the team, one that adds a little humour and gives a clear indication of their personalities. They are all fun and unique, from Lolly to Ajay. Even Craig who I can only describe as being a bit of a tit, manages to redeem himself a little by the end of the book.
Speaking of endings, the final chapters see the action and pace ramp up, the level of jeopardy skyrocket, and a mixture of shocking revelations and emotionally charged confessions playing games with your emotions as a reader. All very exciting, very compelling stuff that kept me hooked right to the end.
Tense, thrilling and full of mystery, this is a series I am very keen to see more of. I can't wait until book two to see what the team get up to next.
Having lived around the Southend on Sea area for most of my life, it was even more enjoyable as I could visualise all the places mentioned.
Now reading the sequel, Woman in the Wood