Title: Silent Victim (DCI Matilda Darke #10)
Author: Michael Wood
Published on: 28 October 2022
Genre: Mystery and Thrillers | Police Procedural
Silent Victim is the tenth book in Michael Wood’s DCI Matilda Darke series.
I have read a couple of previous installments of this series and hands down, this is one of the best police procedurals of all time. If my memory serves me right, I started following this series from book #6 and so far, I have loved them all.
The story begins with a brutal rape of a teenage girl. She was on her way back home from school when a man grabbed her, forced himself onto her, took her to a secluded park and slit her throat. She somehow managed to survive, send an emergency signal on her cellphone before losing consciousness.
Tilly, the victim, is the only child of single mother Amy. After her husband’s death, Amy has no relatives left (her parents are dead too) and nobody whom she can call a close friend. Amy and Tilly used to spend Christmas at home. But from this year onward, Christmas will never be the same for the mother-daughter duo.
DCI Matilda Darke has almost recovered from a near-death experience. Her team was under attack by a shooter and it resulted in Matilda losing half of her team. She was shot in the head but somehow survived. In the previous book, we saw Matilda and her remaining team members catch a child abuse ring and bring the perps to justice. This wasn’t easy as someone high up in the management was a member of the ring and they tried to stop Matilda from investigating. She took things in her own hands – with a little help from media. This finally resulted in disbanding the HMCU and many detectives were put on indefinite leave, including Matilda.
DI Christian Brady has a hard time handling the team. The coronavirus and lockdown has made things difficult. The media hasn’t forgiven the South Yorkshire Police department for aiding a criminal mastermind – well, that’s how they saw it when the leader of the abuse ring was arrested.
In the past two months, three women have been raped and murdered (throats slit). Though Tilly has managed to survive, she’s lost her voice… for good. Matilda Darke is asked to return to the force. She’s the only one who can solve this case and bring the serial rapist/killer to justice.
It was heart-wrenching to read about Tilly’s trauma. The poor thing was in a lot of pain – physical and emotional. Her mum too was devastated. Matilda meets Tilly and Amy, and it was quite clear that the three ladies would share a bond that lasts forever.
I have read many police procedurals in the past few years and I must say, Matilda Darke is one of the best detectives out there. It’s not all about solving crimes here. We have a glimpse of the detectives’ personal lives – their struggles, their happy times and everything else. It’s 2020 and almost Christmas. Lockdowns and increasing Covid death toll isn’t making things easy. Many from the police force have fallen sick – some with long Covid. One of Matilda’s ex-colleague and friend has lost her husband of many years to Covid.
I was hooked on to the story and could not put it down until the end. The sleuthing, finding the missing piece of the puzzle, the killer and his over-confidence at wanting to get away with committing crimes, Matilda’s challenge to the killer, the detectives’ personal lives and Christmas celebrations… this story was a complete package!
I couldn’t identify the perp until the end. Matilda and her team profile him – trying to understand what makes him commit such horrific crimes. Given that nobody saw him near the crime scene, it is pretty clear he must be blending in – like, really well. There a couple of red herrings and honestly, I was a bit side-tracked once or twice. I had my doubts about two suspects and turns out, they weren’t guilty.
Michael Wood is one of my favorite author. I absolutely love his writing. Excellent character development and a mystery to keep you guessing till the end – what else does a mystery lover want? My god!! The ending was terrific. Matilda coming face-to-face with the killer and what happened next… and the story ends with a shocking and unexpected twist. Lordy, I did not see it coming! I cannot wait to see how this new development will be explored in the next book. Fingers crossed, Matilda. You will need all the luck to face this one…
If you are looking for a dark, intense, gripping and gritty police procedural, I recommend you to give Silent Victim by Michael Wood a try.
I received an ARC from One More Chapter and NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.