Friday 18 February 2022

Those We Left Behind

Finished February 16
Those We Left Behind by Stuart Neville

This is the first in the series featuring DCI Serena Neville of the Belfast police. She is just returning to work after her cancer treatments and struggling with how it has changed her relationship with her husband. Years ago she had a case where two boys, Ciaran and Thomas, were involved in the death of their foster parent, and it still haunts her. One boy confessed, but she had never really believed the confession. Now, he is nineteen and getting out of youth custody. The probation officer assigned to him, Paula Cunningham, comes to Serena for some background on the young man. Paula finds him a little odd, but she knows he isn't stupid. Thomas has been out for a while, and has a job, an apartment and a car, and hasn't shown any issues of problematic behaviour. Ciaran is eager to see his brother, but seems nervous and unsure how to behave on his own. 
The son of the man killed, Daniel, is sure that Thomas was the one who killed his father, and he begins to exhibit unpredictable behaviour when he learns of Ciaran's release. 
When someone ends up dead, and Serena gets the case, both she and Paula think the brothers are connected. Especially when they get threats of their own. But can Serena break through to Ciaran now when she couldn't before, or will these two women find themselves in danger.
After recently reading the second book in this series, I decided that I had to read the first, and while I knew from the second some elements of this one, I still found myself hoping that Serena's intuition would lead her in the right direction. 
I liked Serena as a character and I also liked Paula here. Both are women in careers that put them in contact with dangerous people and they both are used to relying on their guts to warn them of dangers. As they combine what they know to find the answers to both old and new crimes, they also find themselves up against their superiors. 

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