Crime fans are in for a treat. Sarah Ward's debut novel, In Bitter Chill, is published today by Faber & Faber.
he novel takes us back to 1978, when a small town in Derbyshire, England is traumatised by the kidnapping of two young schoolgirls. One girl, Rachel, is later found unharmed but unable to remember anything except that her abductor was a woman.
Over thirty years later the mother of the still missing Sophie commits suicide. Superintendent Llewellyn, who was a young constable on the 1978 case, asks DI Francis Sadler and DC Connie Childs to look again at the kidnapping to see if modern police methods can discover something that the original team missed. However, Sadler is convinced that a more recent event triggered Yvonne Jenkins’s suicide.
Rachel, with the help of her formidable mother and grandmother, recovered from the kidnapping and has become a family genealogist. She remembers nothing of the abduction and is concerned that, after Yvonne Jenkins’s suicide, the national media will be pursuing her for a story once more. Days later, the discovery of one of her former teachers’ strangled body suggested a chain of events is being unleashed.
Rachel and the police must unpick the clues to discover what really happened all those years ago. But in doing so, they discover that the darkest secrets can be the ones closest to you.
Praise for In Bitter Chill
‘In Bitter Chill deserves to be one of the stand out debuts of 2015. A tense, page-turning mystery that grips readers from the first. I’m looking forward to more from Sarah Ward.’ William Ryan
‘The most engaging debut I have come across in a long time. In Bitter Chill gives the Scandi authors a run for their money.’ Yrsa Sigurðardóttir
‘In Bitter Chill is an elegant and thoughtful novel, as well as a compassionate investigation into the dark heart of family relationships and the lurking power of long buried secrets. This is a fine debut, and Sarah Ward is a writer to watch.’ Chris Ewan
‘A twisted, skilful and entirely intriguing mystery.’ Quentin Bates
‘Relentless, compelling, and meticulously suspenseful. Fans of Ian Rankin and Elizabeth George will rejoice at this atmospheric and authentic debut, expertly told, where modern-day police struggle to untangle disturbing secrets of the past. Terrific.’ Hank Phillippi Ryan
‘A very assured first novel, with compellingly good story-telling and a deep humanity.’ Alison Joseph
‘This remarkable debut is an intricate and thoroughly intriguing crime thriller. A masterclass in plotting and character, it is realistically set and compellingly told. I struggled to put it down.’ Zoë Sharp
‘A beautifully woven mystery which, like a peak district winter, chilled this reader to the bone.’ Steven Dunne
‘ A fine debut, with well conceived characters and an engaging story.’ Paul Johnston