I am really excited to be taking part in a Q&A with Lesley Thomson for the blog tour of The Dog Walker later this month. For now, here's my review, which is written with thanks to Blake Brooks at Head of Zeus for my copy of the book.
In January 1987, Helen Honeysett disappeared whilst walking her dog. There was no trace of a body, and although the police arrested her neighbour for her murder at the time, he was released without charge due to a lack of evidence. In January 2016, twenty nine years later, Helen's widower, Adam, approaches Stella Darnell and asks her to investigate what really happened to his wife.
The majority of The Dog Walker is set within the neighbourhood in which Helen Honeysett lived. As a result of this, Thomson is able to introduce the reader to a wide range of characters, all of whom could be potential suspects. I was constantly on the look out for clues as to who the perpetrator could be. This put me on edge throughout the novel and the tension was palpable. I wanted to carry on reading to find out who it was!
Thomson also uses narrative technique to build the tension throughout the novel. At the beginning of The Dog Walker, the narrative switches between the time of Helen's disappearance and the time of Stella's investigation. This helps the reader to understand what relationships in the neighbourhood were like, so that they can consider what happened. As the novel progresses, there are also some chapters in first person, where the narrator appears to be addressing someone. These sections contain more clues and I was keen to know who the narrator was and to whom they were talking.
The Dog Walker is the fifth novel in Thomson's "Detective's Daughter" series. Although this novel can be read in isolation, I found the background knowledge I had having read The Detective's Daughter was helpful, as it allowed me to appreciate the dynamic between Stella and Jack, which has obviously strengthened as the series has progressed. I enjoyed the way in which they worked together, making the best of their strengths and weaknesses and each bringing something different to their relationship.
As Stella begins to investigate, it is clear that she likes to use spreadsheets to order her notes. I was pleased that these spreadsheets, including the ones that she uses to create maps of the neighbourhood, were included in the book. They allowed me to picture the setting in which the investigation takes place, and I was able to feel the danger on the towpath and immerse myself in the novel.
There are some elements of the supernatural in The Dog Walker, and I felt that this made some parts of the novel slightly unrealistic.
Overall, I enjoyed The Dog Walker, and look forward to catching up with the rest of the series.
The Dog Walker is available from Amazon.