Silent Girl by ML Rose is the second Nikki Gill novel. After the wonderful Stolen Souls I wondered if the second novel would hit the same heights. I really liked the character of Nikki and the struggles she had with both her work and private life. It was a breath of fresh air to read at the time. The setting of Oxford immediately makes me think of Morse, but you're soon in the world of Nikki Gill.
Nikki is called to the murder scene. A young girl is found laid out, murdered. No identification, but it turns out to be the daughter of a prominent local councillor who aspires to be the next MP for Whitney. (yep, David Camerons old seat). The action cuts with flashbacks to twenty years before.
I loved the way the action switches across the decades. Trying to work out who the voice from the past adds another layer to the suspense. There's loads of it in here. Political skullduggery, the murky world of the Oxford college system. All along Nikki must confront her own past. Her work relationships come under scrutiny. She has to find why a member of her team is giving her so much grief.
The ending when it comes is well thought out. A fitting climax to a complex story. This is a real page turner as you furiously try to come up with whom the killer is before the author reveals all. The pace and style of writing suited me. An easy and thoughtful plot is exposed slowly.
There's a bit in the first half of the novel where I thought it could have been left out. It was when one suspect tries to flee to France by smuggling on a wagon. He meets a group of asylum seekers eking out a meagre existence on the cliffs living in tents hidden by rocks. I'm glad ML Rose left this in. It added a poignant touch and showed the plight of those who are trying for a better life. A stellar moment.
Nikki Gill is one of my favourite protagonists in crime fiction. She has a quiet demeanour about her which matches the pace and style of book well. It's not a heavy noir novel, yet it nots a light cozy novel. A refreshing series that keeps me coming back for more.
A solid second book in the series. Can't wait for the next from ML Rose.
Thanks to Netgallery and Storm Publishing for the eARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.