ShortBookandScribes #BookReview – Unsolved by Heather Critchlow

Unsolved by Heather Critchlow is published today by Canelo Crime in paperback, audiobook and ebook. Congratulations to the author and my thanks to the publishers for the proof copy.

He won’t rest until he finds out the truth…

Cal Lovett is obsessed with finding justice for the families of missing people. His true crime podcast is his way of helping others, even if he can’t help himself.

His sister, Margot, disappeared when he was a child. Only one man seems to know something. But he’s behind bars and can’t be trusted.

So when the family of a missing Scottish woman begs for his help, he heads to Aberdeenshire in search of the truth.

Does Cal have what it takes to unearth the secrets hiding in the hills? And what if he finds something that leads him back to the heart of his own family’s past?

A gripping crime thriller by a brilliant debut novelist, perfect for fans of Jane Casey, Fiona Barton and Loreth Anne White.

I’m a sucker for a podcast novel. I’m not sure why as I never listen to podcasts but I find them a really fascinating focus for a crime novel.

In Unsolved, Cal Lovett is the presenter of a true crime investigative podcast in which he tries to find out what happened to people who have gone missing. When Cal was a child his older sister, Margot, disappeared and it’s clear that it is this that is driving his need to help others who are missing loved ones. He decides to investigate a missing woman in Scotland and heads there to look into what happened 35 years earlier.

Unsolved is a truly gripping read which I flew through. There’s something about the combination of the cold case in Scotland, the modern day podcast and Cal’s own experience that makes for the perfect crime novel. The writing is sympathetic towards the loved ones of the missing women, the desire to know what happened fighting against the need not to know, and it gave me lots to think about as well as being a rollicking good suspense. I loved the red herrings and the plot twists, and the small-town Scottish setting, where everybody knows everybody else and not much happens to excite a young woman yearning for more.

I’m really pleased that this is the first of a trilogy featuring Cal Lovett. He’s a character with depth, lots bubbling away under the surface, and the ending of Unsolved made me eager to know what happens next. This is a brilliant debut novel, tense, dark and beautifully written.

Heather Critchlow grew up in rural Aberdeenshire and trained as a business journalist after studying history and social science at the University of Cambridge. Her short stories have appeared in crime fiction anthologies Afraid of the Light, Afraid of the Christmas Lights and Afraid of the Shadows. She lives in St Albans, UK.

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