The Seventh Victim by Michael Wood

Title: The Seventh Victim

Author: Michael Wood

Published on: 30 May 2023

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

Buy on Amazon: Kindle | Audiobook

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A little boy is waiting for his mother to pick him up from school when a man calls him. The little boy’s mother is running late but arrives just in time to see a man trying to drag her son. She attacks the man and sits on him until the police arrive.

The man is none other than a notorious serial killer and pedophile named Jonathan Egan-Walsh. Soon, after his arrest, his house is searched, and the police find dozens of clothing belonging to children. Jonathan is charged with the murder of over a dozen boys. All his victims were found in shallow graves… except for one, a little boy named Zachery Marshall.

Twenty-five years later, Zach’s mother, Diane, is still searching for closure. All she wants is to bury her little boy. She knows he’s not alive. She writes to Jonathan many times, but her letters go unanswered. Then, Johnathan dies in prison. Does this mean the end of Diane’s search for closure?

Not really. A few days after Jonathan’s death, his lawyer arrives at Diane’s doorstep with a letter from his late client. In the letter, Jonathan admits he was guilty of other murders… but he never touched Zachery. Does this mean someone else was responsible for Zachery’s disappearance twenty-five years ago?

WOW! I am out of words to describe this book. It’s a Michael Wood novel so I was pretty sure it’s going to be a fantabulous read. But the story, the emotions, the grief and final twist… mind blown.

The story begins with the events that led to Jonathan’s arrest and conviction. Then, the story shifts to the family of one victim – the little boy whose body was never found. At the end of the book, the author has pointed out that in most cases of child murder, the parents break up. The grief and guilt are too much for them to bear. This particular point is highlighted throughout the story.

Diane and Nick’s son Zachery went missing and he’s believed to have been a victim of Jonathan. But Zach’s body was never found. Within a couple of years of his disappearance, his divorce. Though Diane lost her elder son, the youngest one too paid the brunt. When Nick remarried, the younger son wanted to move in with his dad and stepmother. Diane is left all alone; she grieves alone. Her mum’s been supportive but there comes a time when she too asks Diane to move on.

But Diane cannot move on until she buries her son. Of course, there’s a slight possibility that Zachery might still be alive. But a mother’s instincts are always right – and she knows he’s not around. The Johnatha Egan-Walsh case brought misery to not just the family of victims, but others involved in it.

A journalist named Alex wrote a true crime story on Johnathan. The book was a great success, but it took a toll on his personal life. Meanwhile, DI Caroline Turner was in charge of the case. It affected her so much that she finally quit her job and started a dog walking business.

Twenty-five years later, Diane, Alex, and Caroline, are once again haunted by the case – but this time, they have written proof from the killer himself. He claims he never killed Zachery. As the story proceeds, we see the trio join hands and solve the mystery. There’s always a possibility that Johnathan manipulated them one last time before his death. (He was known to be manipulative. )

Diane’s struggle brought tears in my eyes. She suffered a lot, lost her family, her child, friends, and everything else. It was as if, she was a zombie – emotionally. It was emotionally exhausting for Diane to not give up hope when everyone around her had.

I was hooked on to the story and couldn’t put it down until the end. Diane, Alex, and Caroline’s personal lives are no better – each of them seems to be struggling with family issues. Looking into the case once again brings more conflicts in their personal lives. But they cannot back out this time, not when they feel they have a lead from the killer himself.

The second half is where things get murkier. The last few chapters are nothing short of a nail-biting adventure. The whole story keeps you not only hooked, but on the edge of your seat. Suspense is at an all-time high. Twists and turns keep you guessing till the end.

Be warned that the story is about a serial killer/sexual abuser. So, it might not be suited for faint hearted readers. Each of the victims are found wrapped in a white sheet. Some might find this scene a tad disturbing.

The Seventh Victim by Michael Wood is a page turner. Riveting. Interesting. Unique. Engrossing. Highly recommended!

I received an ARC from One More Chapter and NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.

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6 thoughts on “The Seventh Victim by Michael Wood

      1. His Matilda Darke series is too good. A tad gory but one of the best police procedural series. 😊

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