Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for The Bad Place by M. K. Hill. This gripping psychological thriller come police procedural is just the right amount of dark and twisty and a whole lot of action-packed. It balances character with plot, fear with action, and while you get completely wrapped up in the investigation there is enough left to the imagination that you can jitter yourself right out of your skin. If you’re looking for a thrilling read that is perfect for lead up to halloween (or any time you like a little twisted in your life) then read it, you won’t be disappointed!
Title: The Bad Place
Author: M. K. Hill
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Publication Date: September 5, 2019
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Crime, Police Procedural
Themes: Murder, Serial Killers, Kidnapping, Trauma, Family Dynamics
My Rating: 4.5/ 5
The newspapers called it The Bad Place. A remote farm out on the Thames estuary, where six children were held captive for two weeks. Five of them got out alive.
That was twenty years ago. Now adults, they meet upannually to hold a candlelit vigil for their friend who died. The only rule is that no-one can talk about what happened the night they escaped. But at this year’s event, one of them witnesses a kidnapping. A young girl, Sammi, is bundled into a van in front of their eyes. Is history repeating itself?
Is one of them responsible? Or is someone sending them a twisted message?
DI Sasha Dawson, of Essex Police, is certain that the key to finding Sammi lies in finding out the truth about The Bad Place. But she also knows that with every second she spends trying to unlock the past, the clock ticks down for the missing girl…
Google Play: https://bit.ly/2yUXJhq
There is something particularly joyful that comes with diving into the first book in a promising new series. And The Bad Place is off to a particularly cracking start! We have a long closed case with a trailing public memory and appears to be repeating itself, a tenacious DI with some tumultuous family issues, and a broad cast of supporting characters that drag you into the deep and refuse to let you go.
Told is both dual timeline and dual perspective between DI Sasha Dawson and survivor Karin McCarthy, you’re constantly drawn between fact and speculation, past and present, character and action. The pacing of this book is break-neck and so incredibly spot on, there is never a dull moment even when exploring Sasha’s family. The investigative team too has a fun dynamic with individual and unique characters. It’s clear that there are so many ways in which this narrative can grow and I can’t wait to see what comes next. The kidnappings too keep those pages turning. The case is full of unexpected twists, intriguing histories, and is complicated by the grip of trauma and the fallacy of memory.
As each new kidnapping takes place it becomes clear that everyone is holding on to secrets, and that those secrets have incredible costs. Whether it’s the five survivors of the original kidnapping, their families, or the original investigating officers there’s so much more to this case than originally meets the eye – which constantly leaves you guessing and you all know how much I love that! I loved how the Sammi arc played out as her presence in the story added yet another layer to the drama, and really heightened the mass dysfunction that surrounded the survivors.
I absolutely adored how Karin’s story was told in dual timeline, with flashbacks to her time at the Bad Place interspersed throughout the present day. Her raw experience in the cellar, the psychological manipulations of both her captor and the other kids in the cellar, and the aftermath of her role in the kids survival created a story that could have stood on it’s own. I ended up completely enraptured by her story for all of it’s good, bad, and ugly. She’s hard to love and hard to hate, but you simply can’t tear your eyes away from her story.
Sasha on the other hand is easy to get behind! She has an infectious passion that draws you in from the get go. Everything from her team management to her hatred of shoes and the love she holds for her family reads as relatable and genuine. And as much as Karin carried the crime story, Sasha’s family carried the weight of the personal narrative. I had nothing but sympathy as she tried to navigate the issues with her husband and the needs of her two teenaged children. And even more sympathy when her mother decided to move in after ending 50 years of marriage – cue the drama! Sure, we spend a lot of time with Sasha’s family, more than on her investigation of the case, but this wasn’t a bad thing. As the first book in the series I took this as some serious ground work and think that there are great things coming down the line.
There are a lot of characters to keep track of, but if you’re willing to juggle multiple narratives, then I am happy to assure you that they all come together in the end. Hill will keep you entranced from first page to last. the darkest moments are offset by tenderness and humour, and complicated subject matter is balanced by an accessible vocabulary and an approachable writing style.
Would I recommend this book? Absolutely! It’s thrilling, fast paced, and emotionally dynamic. It’s perfect for a little scare in the lead up to halloween, and even better for those that like to indulge in thrillers year round. I’m excited to see where DI Sasha Dawson and the team head next, as I’m sure it will be nothing short of fabulous.
About The Author
It’s nice to see you here, thanks for coming.
I’ve been a journalist and an award-winning music radio producer. I worked for about five minutes in PR. But I write the Drake and Crowley thriller series now, which is just as well, because I love writing. It’s my dream job.
If you enjoyed His First Lie or It Was Her, do get in touch. There are plenty of ways to do it!
Many thanks to Victoria Joss at Head of Zeus for inviting me to join in on this tour, and for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.