Maybe because I so enjoyed the British TV mystery series Broadchurch, it wasn’t such a great idea to read the book. It’s one thing to read the book a series or movie is based on and another to read one based on the series. However, the novel was written by a good British suspense writer, Erin Kelly, so I thought I’d give it a try.
An 11-year-old boy is found dead on a beach in a small town early one morning. Because his paper route gets him out of the house early, his parents haven’t missed him yet.
On the same morning, Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller returns to work from vacation eager to take over her new job as head of investigations. When she arrives, though, she finds the position has gone to a man, Detective Inspector Alec Hardy. Worse, she soon remembers he was lead in a murder case in Sandbrook that went terribly wrong.
Beth Latimer doesn’t realize that her son Danny is missing until she takes his lunchbox to school, thinking he forgot it. His teacher and school mates haven’t seen him. On the drive home, the traffic to the beach is blocked because of a police investigation. Some instinct makes her stop her car and run to the beach.
While the small town tries to cope with the idea that someone among them has murdered the boy, Ellie Miller and Alec Hardy work the evidence trying to find the killer. Alec is brusque and rude and constantly reminds Ellie that she can’t trust people. Ellie thinks her strength lies in her knowledge of these people, particularly the Latimers, who are her family’s best friends. As the town’s suspicions turn from one person to another, she has to reassess this idea.
A stranger to town is also looking for trouble. Reporter Karen White has Hardy on her radar, after she figures he bungled the Sandbrook case. He didn’t, but the truth takes a while to come out.
Honestly, if you have already seen Broadchurch, this novel doesn’t add anything to it except for more insight into what some of the characters are thinking. The ending has a few extra scenes that only draw it out unnecessarily. The final scene, which I found touching in the series, is a bit too much because it’s from the point of view of the boy’s mother.
However, if you have not seen the series, this book is a perfectly good murder mystery. The characters and situation are interesting, the solution quite a shock.