Book review: Behind Closed Doors by Susan Lewis

The emotional stresses of contemporary life, and the crises that it throws up, have long been the building blocks for Susan Lewis’ compelling and beautifully crafted novels.

Wednesday, 15th April 2015, 10:00 am
Behind Closed Doors by Susan Lewis
Behind Closed Doors by Susan Lewis

This is an author who writes with both her head and her heart, producing stories supported by painstaking research but imbued with such genuine warmth, understanding and sympathy that she has become one of the UK’s best-loved novelists.

Lewis excels in her sensitive portrayal of authentic family dramas and Behind Closed Doors is a resonant tale about secrets and mistakes, and how life can change course in less than a heartbeat.

Fourteen-year-old Sophie Monroe has been moody and truculent with her father Gavin and stepmother Heidi since the birth of baby Archie so when she suddenly vanishes one night, it looks at first as though she has run away from home.

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Her computer and mobile phone have gone, and she has taken a bag full of clothes and toiletries. Texts to her parents claimed she was with friends they didn’t know and to stop looking for her, but now they have heard nothing.

As the police investigation in a small West Country town unfolds, secrets from the surrounding community start coming to light and it seems that everyone has something to hide.

For Detective Sergeant Andrea ‘Andee’ Lawrence, the case is a painful reminder of the tragedy that tore her own family apart over twenty years ago when her sister Penny disappeared without trace.

Andee, a divorced mother of two, is convinced that there is more to Sophie’s disappearance than teenage rebellion but fears that events in her own past are clouding her judgment, preventing her from seeing a truth that neither she, nor Sophie’s family, would ever want to face…

Lewis has an uncanny ability to step inside her characters and, by taking us to the heart of their innermost hopes and fears, she makes us believe in them and care about what happens to them.

Behind Closed Doors, which explores the fallout when a child goes missing, is a tale of our times, a clever mix of suspense, drama and mystery, brimming with twists and turns and with an emotional power that will keep readers gripped to the last page.

Not to be missed…

(Arrow, paperback, £6.99)