The House in the Woods is book one in the new Atticus Priest series. Atticus is an ex-police officer turned private detective who seems to have quite the reputation and evidently knows how to get things done. He is very likeable character. I think I might have a little bit of a crush on him, but don’t tell my husband! 😉
LOVE his dog also. He might just be my second favourite character.
I have absolutely loved this book. It is the first I’ve read by Mark Dawson, but it most certainly will not be my last!
This story begins with the shooting of a husband, wife, son and daughter in their large, remote home, on Christmas Eve. DCI Mackenzie Jones (Mack) and her team are called away from their families to the devastating crime scene. The evidence points to the dead son, at first, as he seems to have shot his family before turning the gun on himself, but before long suspicion falls on the surviving son who reported the crime. In his 999 call he claims to be able to see his father on the floor but is unable to access the house. With his whole family gone though, he would become a very wealthy man. Did he stage the murder/suicide in the hope of inheriting it all?
Mack thinks so and needs to prove it. Atticus is hired by the defendant’s wife to prove otherwise as she is convinced of his innocence.
We soon learn that there is history between Mack and Atticus. This adds even more tension to the investigation, especially as Mack is supposed to be staying away from Atticus for the sake of her marriage (and the fact that Atticus is being paid to prove her case is flawed). I enjoyed this aspect of the story and the insight into the personal lives of these professionals. I always think this makes the characters more real and believable. I found them both, and their relationship, quite fascinating.
This book is a murder mystery/police procedural/court drama which ticks all the boxes for me. An excellent plot, full of suspense and intriguing characters. And OH MY, that ending!! I hope I don’t have to wait too long for book two!
My gratitude to Mark Dawson for the pleasure of being able to enjoy an advance copy of this brilliant read. I highly recommend it to you all and I’ll look forward to catching up with Atticus Priest, hopefully, soon.
About the author
Mark Dawson has worked as a lawyer and in the London film industry. His first books, The Art of Falling Apart and Subpoena Colada, have been published in multiple languages. He is currently writing three series. The John Milton series features a disgruntled assassin who aims to help people make amends for the things that he has done. The Beatrix Rose series features the headlong fight for justice of a wronged mother–who happens to be an assassin–against the six names on her Kill List. Soho Noir is set in the West End of London between 1940 and 1970. The first book in the series, The Black Mile, deals with the (real-life but little-known) serial killer who operated in the area during the Blitz. The Imposter traces the journey of a criminal family through the period; it has been compared to The Sopranos in austerity London. Mark lives in Wiltshire with his family.