How long do you hunt for the missing?
A horrible vanishing act…
When a young Josie Masters sees a boy wearing a red football shirt, Dylan Jones, being taken by a clown at a carnival, she tries to alert the crowds. But it’s too late. Dylan has disappeared…
Thirty years later, Josie is working as a police officer in Bath. The remains of the body of a child have been found – complete with tatters of a torn red football shirt. Is it the boy she saw vanish in the clutches of the clown? Or is it someone else altogether?
And then another child disappears…
Published 6th March 2018 by Avon (UK)
Geez!!! This book was unsettling before I even sat down to read it. Arriving in a box that played fairground music when it was opened (thanks Avon!) had me shivering. I mean, there’s something just so deliciously sinister and terrifying about fairgrounds and clowns …right? Well, if like me you enjoy being chilled to the bone with your reading, Hold My Hand ticks all the boxes and had me on edge from the very first page.
Jo is only eight when she see’s a young boy in a red football shirt being lead away by a clown at the local fairground. The only witness to the kidnapping, she feels guilt over the years at not raising the alarm sooner. Now thirty years later, she’s serving as a detective in the police force when old remains of a child are discovered – the only clue to their identity a red football shirt. Then another child disappears in similar circumstances and Jo is determined to find the link between the two cases and solve the case which has plagued her conscience for three decades.
MJ Ford captured my attention straight away with an intensely suspenseful prologue following the lead up to the kidnapping. Evoking the sights, smells and atmosphere of a day at the fairground as excitement turns into something dark, I was hooked very quickly.
The narrative then switches to thirty years later, where Jo is now a serving detective in the force where the remains are found. I really liked Jo, there’s vulnerability about her but also a foresight and intuitiveness which makes her investigating skills interesting- and I found myself frustrated on her behalf when her colleagues maybe didn’t listen or appreciate her as much as they should! I also liked the streak of empathy she had, meaning she didn’t always see things in black and white, which resulted in some thought provoking concepts. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting this and I really liked the personal detail to Jo’s character.
I had some suspicions about the kidnapper, but was wrong. Looking back, I think the author purposefully and subtly points in their direction and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen it. However I really couldn’t have predicted some of the plot twists, which are both shocking yet disturbingly plausible, adding to the chilling nature of this book.
Hold Me Hand is a great mix of thriller and police procedural which gripped me throughout. I read it in huge 100 page chunks over a busy day, finding it hard to put down when I had to and eager for another dose when I had. Fast paced and shocking but with a distinctly authentic and human angle, it’s well worth an add to any crime/thriller fan’s bookshelves.
(I read a copy courtesy of the publisher)