Friday, 5 July 2019

When I Lost You - Merilyn Davies

When a young couple are the lead suspects for the murder of their only child, Crime Analyst Carla Brown and DS Nell Jackson are assigned to investigate.
The evidence seems conclusive, but something just doesn’t feel right.
The case is quickly cast into doubt when the lead forensic pathologist starts receiving threatening letters – containing details only the police should know.
Who’s sending them? What do they want? And how did they get hold of the information?
As Carla and Nell dig deeper, it soon becomes clear that this case isn’t the first of its kind.
They must stop at nothing to find the truth – even if it hits close to home.
When a novel's prologue ends with the words "I did not kill my baby!" you get an idea in your head about how the story is going to go. On reading the synopsis too, you think that the book is about the couple who have lost their child and in a way it is. It's also so much more! 
When I Lost You starts with DS Jackson and DC Mackintosh called to a flat in Oxford over a reported death of an infant. Nell Jackson is convinced that it's another Sudden Infant Death but on arrival Eve Graham, the pathologist tells them it's murder, and not only that but it was the mother who killed the little girl. Nell Jackson is back at work after being stabbed thanks to a crime analyst missing a vital detail so when she finds out the new DCI wants her to work closely with Crime Analyst Carla Brown, she can't help but be resentful.

Nothing about this case is as straightforward as it seems. There are letters being written to the pathologist, essentially calling her a liar and accusing her of ensuring innocent women have been convicted thanks to her testimony. Nell and Carla aren't entirely sure what to believe as they both know Eve but what if she is getting it wrong?

When I Lost You is part police procedural and part psychological thriller, told in two different timelines simply titled Then and Now. It's quite confusing at first, especially if you don't realize that's the case, but this is what makes the story such compulsive reading. Then is about two girls living in a care home and being groomed by a local cafe owner, Now is about three women who may or may not know more than they're saying. Carla is closely linked to Eve because of Eve's husband Gerry who was her first sergeant and is utterly determined that Eve would not have deliberately allowed innocent women to be sent to prison.

When I Lost You is a wonderfully addictive story, with a unique plotline, and twists and turns that you don't see coming. I will admit to trying to guess who certain people were quite early on in the book but it soon became evident that I was completely wrong. It does become obvious at one point, who the 'guilty party' is, but this doesn't take anything away from the story and it was fascinating seeing the different strands of the story coming together to an explosive ending.

When I Lost You is a gripping tale of loss, wrongful conviction, and abuse, which if not handled in the right way, could be distressing but Merilyn Davies has created a page-turner of a first novel in a wonderful location. Having gone to Oxford it was nice to see someone write about things other than the gleaming spires and students! I very much enjoyed the developing relationship between Nell and Carla and sincerely hope we get to see more of them in the future!

Huge thanks to Rachel and Arrow for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion of the book. If you want to try When I Lost You by Merilyn Davies it's currently available for the princely sum of 99 pence on Kindle UK and can be found here.
When I Lost You - Merilyn Davies
Publisher - Cornerstone Digital/Arrow
Release date: Kindle/eBook - July 1st, Paperback - August 22nd, 2019
About The Author
Merilyn Davies is a former Crime Analyst with the Metropolitan Police who worked as part of the violent and hate crime unit for eight years. She was inspired to write about strong women working in the police force thanks to the incredible women she encountered on the force and was fascinated to explore the relationship between civilians working in the force and police officers, drawing on her own experiences being married to a serving MET officer.

She decided to set her debut thriller in her home city of Oxford, but the action all takes place away from the dreaming spires in parts tourists don’t stop at. She studied Sociology at university and is fascinated with the manner in which society leads people down criminal paths. She was a co-founder of the Chipping Norton Literary Festival and now works for Oxford City Council. Follow Merilyn on Twitter @nellbelleandme


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