It isn’t unusual for crop circles to appear overnight on Hackpen Hill. In this part of Wiltshire, where golden wheat fields stretch for miles, the locals have got used to discovering strange mathematical patterns stamped into the earth.
But this time, it’s different. Not only because this particular design of dramatic spiralling hexagons has never been seen before. But because of the dead body positioned precisely in the centre of the circle. DI Silas Hart, of Swindon Police, is at a loss.
Only Jim, a scientist at secretive government laboratory Porton Down, knows the chilling truth about the man on Hackpen Hill. And he wants Bella, a trainee journalist on her first ever story, to tell the world. But Silas has other ideas – and a boss intent on a cover up.
As Bella and Jim race against time, dark forces conspire against them, leading them to confront the reality of their own past and a world in which nothing is as it seems.
I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus in return for an honest review.
This story has an intrinsic sense of authenticity, which is in itself chilling given the disturbing elements it explores. It features the detective team of Silas and Strover, a familiar combination if you’ve read the authors other psychological thrillers. It begins with a disquieting prologue that sets the scene for what follows. Bella leaves Oxford for a fledgling career in journalism. Her complex past unfolds as the story progresses. Silas and Strover are investigating a death in a crop circle which leads them into the fields of secret laboratories and mental health issues. Jim meets Bella in a Wiltshire pub, accidentally he believes at first.
The story is told from these points of view. The police investigation is absorbing and allows the reader to make their deductions. Bella and Jim are both unreliable protagonists, but they are easy to empathise with. The plot is fast-paced with its short chapters. The use of sensory imagery makes the events easy to imagine. The plot twists are impactful. The story changes perspective dramatically but realistically and is addictive reading. The climactic ending is satisfying, delivering action, poignancy and positivity for the main protagonists.