Hall of Fame Review: The Winter Foundlings by Kate Rhodes (5/5)

Tuesday 26 August 2014
The girl's body lay on the steps of the Foundling Museum. She was dressed all in white, and tagged with the number 12.
Britain's most prolific child killer, Louis Kinsella, murdered nine children before he was caught and locked away for life in Northwood high-security hospital. 

Now someone is carrying on his work. Four girls have disappeared in North London. Three are already dead...

Psychologist Alice Quentin is working at Northwood, hoping for space and time away from her hectic London life. But she'll do anything to save a child's life - even if it means sitting down with a charismatic, ruthless killer and putting herself in greater danger than ever before.

Firstly how have I not heard of this author before? This is probably one of the best books I've read so far this year and I am already considering ignoring my review TBR so that I can get my hands on Kate's previous books. A faultless novel is a rare thing but Kate Rhodes has achieved one with The Winter Foundlings. From the book's chilling opening until its heart stopping finale Kate had my heart in a vice-like grip and didn't let it go until the final page. I occasionally finish a book that leaves me wishing I was better at writing reviews, this is one of those books.

Plot wise I very rarely talk further than the blurb in my reviews anymore but when the body of a young girl is found on the steps of the Foundling Museum it becomes clear that somebody is carrying on the work of Britain's most prolific child killer, Louis Kinsella. Alice Quentin is the psychologist sent to question Kinsella. Kinsella is evil, even more scary because of how relaxed and in control he is. Alice and the police attempt to piece together various puzzle pieces in their attempt to stop the killer before more young children are killed. As a prolific reader of crime fiction I'm very much of the belief that you should trust nobody. For that reason I suspect every character we meet. The problem with that? Overlooking one or two...

The book isn't for the faint hearted. The murder and abduction of children is always difficult to read about, in fiction and in real life yet this novel actually felt like real life. It was a very realistic tale and that makes it all the more haunting, hard hitting and leaves one hell of an emotional impact. The story is told in a way that will have parents cuddling their children extra tight before bed and making the rest of us feeling grateful for our safety... Even the cover is chilling with the shoes in the snow. Rest assured though that despite the book's nature, this is a book you wont want to put down. I mostly waited to read it at night, adding to the atmosphere it definitely had me well and truly scared in places.

Despite being the third book in the series Rhodes does a fantastic job of continuing Alice Quentin's story for returning readers but at the same time she doesn't alienate new readers and there was never a time where I felt out of place in the book. In actual fact I warmed to Alice quite quickly, she reminded me a little of Lynda La Plante's Anna Travis personality wise. Enough detail is given about previous books without whole plots being given away and it's definitely done in a way that will make new readers want to read the previous books ASAP. Moving at a quick pace with increasing tension throughout the pages turn themselves and before you know it the book is over however this is a story that will remain with you long after you have finished reading. The use of stars as a rating system for books is flawed when I look at some of my other 5 star ratings, for that reason there's no hesitation in making this book the latest addition to my Hall of Fame.

Thanks to Hodder (via bookbridgr) for the review copy.

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