Two murders. Twenty years. Now the killer is back for more…
A darkly compelling debut crime novel. The start of a brilliant series, perfect for fans of Stuart MacBride, Val McDermid, and James Oswald.
DCI Matilda Darke has returned to work after a nine month absence. A shadow of her former self, she is tasked with re-opening a cold case: the terrifyingly brutal murders of Miranda and Stefan Harkness. The only witness was their eleven-year-old son, Jonathan, who was too deeply traumatized to speak a word.
Then a dead body is discovered, and the investigation leads back to Matilda's case. Suddenly the past and present converge, and it seems a killer may have come back for more…
Praise for OUTSIDE LOOKING IN:
‘Crackling dialogue, dark wit and an exciting ending. Recommended if you liked Happy Valley’ Mark Edwards
‘DCI Matilda Darke is going places’ James Oswald
‘A compelling, addictive read, it’s hard to put down. I really enjoyed getting to know DCI Matilda Darke. She's strong character with real depth’ Robert Bryndza, bestselling author of THE GIRL IN THE ICE
Praise for FOR REASONS UNKNOWN:
‘A beautifully written book with a dark heart and a secret that impacts on generations’ Sarah Ward
‘A skilfully crafted and compelling debut that hooks from the off and will keep you guessing until the final page. I can’t wait for Michael Wood’s next one’ M.R. Hall
‘Gripping, sad and unexpected – this is a terrific debut. Wood writes with the confidence and flair of an old hand’ Alex Marwood
‘A strong debut with an intriguing mystery at its heart. The first thing that strikes me is how well he writes female characters. The novel is packed full of strong women’ Ben Cheetham
‘An appealing – and refreshingly human – lead character is swept along in this ingeniously plotted, fast paced debut’ Chris Simms
'This explosive novel is already making a bang – with reviewers comparing Michael’s work to that of his heroes Val McDermid and James Oswald' Sheffield Star
About the author
Michael Wood is a freelance journalist and proofreader living in Sheffield. As a journalist he has covered many crime stories throughout Sheffield, gaining first-hand knowledge of police procedure. He also reviews books for CrimeSquad, a website dedicated to crime fiction.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
As a local journalist in South Yorkshire, Michael Wood witnessed many court cases and grisly murder investigations. So, it’s no surprise that his debut is rich in juicy procedural details. After a nine-month break from work, DCI Matilda Darke is suffering a crisis of confidence. A 20-year-old cold case thrust onto her desk might be the chance she needs to prove herself—but the killer has other ideas. Wood’s characters are complex, damaged and completely captivating to read. Fans of Val McDermid and the Happy Valley: prepare to be gripped and remain in this series’ clutches.
Believable and not too procedural
Great invention and craft shown by the author and despite the obvious reader manipulation techniques, you can’t help but be dragged along by the plot. As an ex police officer I found the characters believable and the politics true to life. I guessed the murderer long before the end but it was more the vivid descriptions of mood, well thought out behaviours and the evident love of the city as a backdrop that made this book such a good read for me. Thoroughly enjoyable.
Well written, great characters , a definite page turner, kept me up well last my bed time on several occasions, just downloaded the second book for hopefully more of the same
A cold case for Matilda Darke
Actual rating 4.5*
For Reasons Unknown is the first in the Matilda Darke series and what a way to start a series!
You can tell Michael Wood loves his books and particularly crime fiction. The author's love for books shines through in the descriptions involving Jonathan Harkness "Surrounded by books" "Books became an obsession " "his biggest passion was crime fiction". As Matilda and I learn more about Harkness, the author seamlessly inserts a list of crime writers and fictional detectives. Some I had read about, some I had heard of but then some that were new to me and made me head to Amazon to look them up!
The characters also intriguing me - why is Maun so interested in Jonathan? Why does Faith want to please just Hales so much and annoy her colleagues in the process? As for Matilda, I imagined her as a slender woman with a crisis with body image for no reason despite "being a size 12 with chunky thighs".
I like reading books based in the local area and despite it being 30 odd miles from Leeds and not knowing Sheffield particularly well, I did recognise certain aspects of the locale mentioned. I've experienced Meadowhell in the New Years sales and it is elbows and pushing; Michael totally got the sentiment right!
I thoroughly enjoyed For Reasons Unknown and would recommend it to anyone who loves their police procedural crime novels....though I am a late joiner to the Matilda Darke fan club!!