Crooked Lane Books | 8 June 2021 | 304 pgs
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss 

Heather Evans returns to her old home after her mother's baffling suicide. While clearing the stuff she's discovered something alarming about her late mother and the things she'd kept - stacks of letters from the notorious serial killer, Michael Reave (a.k.a. The "Red Wolf"). Reave has been in prison for over twenty years and it seems that her late mother had been secretly corresponding with him for decades. Reave is known of his gruesome and ritualistic murders of several women although he's always protested his innocence. 

When a young woman's body is found and the modus operandi is similar to Reave's, Heather decided that she needs to find out about her mother's past and her communications with Reave. Her info sharing of her mother's correspondence with Reave with the police lands her a visit to the prison as everyone hopes that Reave will talk and hopefully shed some light on the recent murder. While Reave remains vague about his past and doesn't seem to offer anything useful relevant to the recent case, he does speak in riddles about some Grimm's fairy tales, in particularly the Red Riding Hood. As Heather communicates more with Reave, she learns that her late mother and Reave do know each other way back when they were living in Fiddler's Mill, a hippy commune in the 70s. Now Heather's biggest question is: what is the relationship between her late mother and Reave and what's her role in all these mayhem?

This story was incredibly dark and broody in some ways which suits the serial killer theme. There was a part about animal cruelty which I quickly skimmed over; and the rest was quite an atmospheric read especially some references to the Red Riding Hood and Reave's past as a boy and his relationship with a mysterious man. Despite an intriguing opening, the story was a slow burn and Heather sometimes made poor, dubious decisions that frustrate the reader. I also feel some characters are not fleshed out enough but the portrayal of Reave as a boy and how he tells his story to Heather in a mythological way was rather fascinating. I may have dived into this book with a high expectation so I was a bit disappointed with the execution and some of the characterisations which I feel would make a better read should they are more well elaborated. That said, if you're into atmospheric books then this one may be of interest to you. 
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12 Responses
  1. jenclair Says:

    The mythological element sounds so interesting! I saw it on NetGalley and maybe should go back and request it.

  2. Melody Says:

    Jenclair - I'll be curious of your thoughts if you do read it, Jenclair.

  3. Lark Says:

    That would freak me out to learn someone in my family knew and was writing to a serial killer.

  4. Melody Says:

    Lark - Me too! I also can't understand why there are some people who would want to write to a serial killer especially when they've no relations or whatsoever.

  5. The serial killer aspect gives me pause, but the mythological aspect intrigues me.

  6. OMG - why do authors spoil a book using animal cruelty as an angle? I hate that and it often makes me abandon the book. I just finished The Maidens (which I loved )but there is a bit of graphic animal abuse in that one as well.

  7. Kay Says:

    I'm curious about this one and might check my library to see if it's available. I think I saw the audio on Hoopla for my library. The Red Riding Hood thing is interesting, but I agree that I don't understand people who write to killers in prison. Do not understand it. LOL

  8. Iliana Says:

    Oh wow what a secret for the protagonist to find out about her mom! Sounds like a book with a lot of potential but some flaws. Is this the author's debut novel? If so hopefully her next will be even better!

  9. Melody Says:

    Wendy - There was some references to the Red Hiding Hood, but it wasn't the core of this story.

  10. Melody Says:

    Diane - It's always so hard to read about cruelty, be it humans or animals. I just wish it isn't written in graphic details.

  11. Melody Says:

    Kay - The Red Riding Hood is used as part of a reference to a character here. I'll be curious of your thoughts if you do read it, Kay.

  12. Melody Says:

    Iliana - I understand that this author has written several fantasy novels, but not so sure about her suspense books, though. But she's definitely a new-to-me author I need to explore!

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