Wolf, by Mo Hayder (Bantam Press, RRP $38)
A little girl finds a stray dog with a note attached to its collar: “HELP US”.
She passes the dog on the a vagrant – known as the Walking Man – in the hopes he will be able to find its family.
Oliver and Matilda Anchor-Ferrers, along with their daughter Lucia, and their dog, Bear, are at their country home to relax while Oliver recovers from heart surgery.
In a horrifying discovery, they find what appear to be entrails wrapped around a tree, which was the site of the double murder of two teenagers 15 years before.
Police are called and it appears there has been another brutal murder, with the killer still on the loose.
But who can be trusted?
This is another story in the Detective Inspector Jack Caffery series but isn’t the standard police investigation type of story. Instead, we have Caffery dealing with the the Walking Man, making deals to find the dog’s owner in exchange for information about the unsolved disappearance of his own brother years earlier.
As this is going on, the members of the Anchor-Ferrers family are now fighting for their lives in a home invasion and Oliver’s sense of helplessness and hopelessness when he realises they are most likely going to die is uncomfortably real.
He eventually begins to realise that the crime is not simply a random home invasion but something much more personal.
What starts out as seemingly unrelated stories becomes a tangled, sinister mess, with the many threads connecting in unexpected ways.
This story cranks up the terror in an uncomfortably intimate way. Recommended reading.