Stuart Neville

Those We Left Behind

""...a multi-stranded haunting read..." "


When 12-year-old Ciaran Devine confessed to murdering his foster father it sent shock waves through the nation.

DCI Serena Flanagan, then an ambitious Detective Sergeant, took Ciaran's confession after days spent earning his trust. He hasn't forgotten the kindness she showed him - in fact, she hasn't left his thoughts in the seven years he has been locked away.

Probation officer Paula Cunningham, now tasked with helping Ciaran re-enter society, suspects there was more to this case than the police uncovered. Ciaran's confession saved his brother Thomas from a far lengthier sentence, and Cunningham can see the unnatural hold Thomas still had over his vulnerable younger brother.

When she brings her fears to DCI Flanagan, the years of lies begin to unravel, setting a deadly chain of events in motion.

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When reading a book about child killers it's very difficult not to think about real life cases that have made the news. I was particularly reminded of the two boys who killed Jamie Bulger while reading 'Those We Left Behind'. Child murderers are a very sensitive subject and needs to be handled carefully in order to create a sense of realism and not be voyeuristic. Stuart Neville has written a chilling and disturbing novel yet has kept sensitivity as his by-word throughout. Meet crime fiction's latest protagonist, DCI Serena Flanagan. She is returning to work after a successful battle with breast cancer and is presented with the release of a child killer she sent to prison seven years ago. Serena is a hard working detective who puts work before anything else. She's flawed and likeable and will try any trick she knows to solve a case - no matter how unorthodox. I like her. 'Those We Left Behind' is the first in a planned new series and I shall definitely be reading the next one. Along with Serena Flanagan, Neville has also created a well-rounded character in probation officer Paula Cunningham. I sincerely hope she returns in further novels. There are plenty of stories she can tell. What makes Neville a standout author is his genuine storytelling. He writes from the heart which is why he can tackle such difficult subjects. Every chapter, every page is beautifully handled, expertly researched and brilliantly written. 'Those We Left Behind' is a multi-stranded haunting read; a true page turner from beginning to end that I found very difficult to put down.

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