Fiona Redbridge is happy. In fact, she’s never been happier. She’s having an affair with a much younger man, which has made her feel alive again. Literally, after surviving a heart transplant a while ago. And selling a Roman cup that came into her antique shop for a considerable amount of money was the icing on her very lucky cake.
However, Fiona’s amazing luck comes to an abrupt end when she is killed by a stranger in a place that holds significant meaning for her. Fiona isn’t the first and, if the killer gets his way, she won’t be the last. What is special about his seemingly unconnected victims? Why do they die smiling? And what is the relevance of the locations the killer chooses to leave them?
Will new-cop-on-the-block DI Imogen Evans be able to work it all out in time to stop the killer claiming another victim to add to his list of ‘the lucky ones’?
What is ‘The Lucky Ones‘ about?
Ben and his son Ollie have moved to Shropshire from London, away from Ben’s ex-wife and a messy break-up. Ben grew up in the village and has mixed feelings about being back’; his mum is ill and in a care home, and Ollie is missing his mum and his friends back in London, and is comfort-eating to cope. Then there is Michael Stone, his ex’s new partner – an old friend and well-known TV reporter who likes to make it known how far he has come since his beginnings in sleepy Shropshire.
However, Shropshire wakes up when another body is discovered and quickly linked to others which have been attributed to ‘The Shropshire Viper’, a potential serial killer stalking victims in the county. DI Imogen Evans, instantly recognisable thanks to her flowing red mane of hair, is in charge of the investigation. Another refugee from the Capital, she is becoming frustrated at her lack of progress on the case – a fact which has also not gone unnoticed by her superior officer, who takes great delight in belittling Imogen at every opportunity.
Ben’s fortune begins to change when he is randomly offered much-needed freelance work. Ollie appears to be having a change of heart about living in the sticks and when his issue with the noisy neighbours next door is suddenly resolved in an unexpected manner, Ben really starts feeling happy again. And then there’s Imogen, who Ben meets after saving a man’s life – a man Imogen believes could be tied up in her case. There’s clearly chemistry between Ben and the detective inspector, but her investigations lead her to question if Ben is really the good guy he appears to be.
After several other strange occurrences, the hunt for the Viper intensifies as it becomes clear he is about to strike again – and Imogen needs to work out who, where and when.
What did I think of ‘The Lucky Ones‘
I’ve been a fan of Mark Edwards’ books for a few years, despite something of a lack of consistency. However, with ‘The Lucky Ones‘, Edwards is back with a bang and I feel this is his best solo effort yet. The story twists and turns and there are plenty of possible characters to choose from as potential killers! I enjoyed how the story is told via Imogen in the third person, and Ben and the mysterious killer in the first person. This gives the reader plenty of insight into the killer’s warped psyche and how he or she tries to justify why they do what they do. It also means we get to know and quite like Ben (or not, depending on your viewpoint!), who just wants Ollie to be happy, but would quite like some happiness in his own life too.
There are plenty of interesting characters – some quirky, some creepy, some just downright unpleasant and Edwards really does leave the reader guessing as to who is really involved in the murders, despite the inner thoughts of the killer being revealed throughout the story. The plot is sufficiently complex to hold the reader’s interest, yet it is written in a style that is easy to read. The setting of the novel is interesting; it’s hard to imagine such grisly murders happening in places like Ironbridge and Much Wenlock, but Edwards just about manages to make it believable.
If you enjoy crime thrillers and police procedurals, I think you’d enjoy ‘The Lucky Ones’. I’d like to see more from DI Imogen Evans in the future and I hope Edwards is able to continue her story in future novels.
‘The Lucky Ones‘ by Mark Edwards will be available from Amazon (affiliate link – no different for you but I get a little bit of money if you click through and buy!) from 15th June 2017, priced at £3.98 for the Kindle edition, and £4.99 for the paperback. An audiobook will also be available, priced at £14.45.