Should you trust your best friend with your life?
When they were children, Harry, Lucas and Guy were best friends. But then they made a mistake that shattered their friendship and forced them to cut all ties.
Years later a man’s head is discovered in the woods, skinned and with the tongue cut out. The police call on Harry, a psychotherapist, to help with the case, and when it transpires the victim is his old friend Guy, old skeletons begin to surface.
Then one of Harry’s clients goes missing.
Forced into a desperate hunt to save the boy, Harry finds himself closing in in on a terrible secret, a secret someone will do anything to keep buried…
As in all previous books this master storyteller racks up the tension and provides an excellent mystery with many twists and surprises along the way. Highly recommended
What a story! A cracking read! If you enjoy thrillers that will keep you on the edge of your seat then I highly recommend this story.
Fast paced with many twists and turns along the way… Hard to put down. Recommended!
The ending is unpredictable… totally surprising… and explosive.
Gripped me from the start… Incredibly well written. The ending made my mouth drop open… I loved the humour as well…
A great range of characters… and a twisty plot that keeps you hooked from start to finish. Thoroughly entertaining.
A very enjoyable mystery thriller that I have no problem in recommending. 5*
CJ Carver’s writing is intriguing, gripping and filled with eye-opening surprises.
A stellar read… a thrilling plot that is full of suspense. CJ is a master… sleep is definitely overrated when you’re reading a book of CJ’s.
Oh. My. God. Cold Echo is one hell of a fantastic read… such realistic descriptions that I felt as though I was part of the story myself… A brilliantly written book that I absolutely adored. 5* out of 5*.
A gripping book… I could have read in one sitting if life had not got in the way.
Kept providing surprises right the way through… What a surprising ending!
A story which keeps you guessing… Great read, well-paced and a page turner! Keeps you guessing right to the end.
OMG this book gripped me from the start… exciting stuff, so much so that I finished it in a few hours. Loved it!
A good start to a new series… This was the first book I have read by this author… I will now look for other books by them.
A thriller you will not want to put down… Twists and turns aplenty. I highly recommend this book.
I was at a book club one evening when the conversation turned to a chilling story about a road near Bath that is, apparently, haunted by a murdered girl. Someone said that the girl’s head had been found but not her body, which immediately got me thinking.
Who would dismember the corpse, and why? Where did the body go? Was the killer sending some kind of a message? If so, what?
As I pondered on the psychology of such a killer, my main character Dr Harry Hope, psychotherapist and lover of rugby and real ale, began to take form. I wanted to explore what life might be like in his profession, especially if the head found in the woods belonged to old childhood friend of his.
They ran to find buckets and a tap. It seemed to take forever for the bucket to fill, and when they went to throw it on the fire they couldn’t get near it. It was too hot.
The barn made a groaning sound and then there was a crash and a flame shot past the gutter as though fired from a gun.
Guy’s mouth was trembling. Harry felt sick.
In the distance, they heard a siren.
Suddenly, through the smoke, a brown and white cow staggered out. Her coat was singed and smoking, her eyes wild. She was coughing, her tongue hanging out like a piece of raw liver, and she had streaks of blood on her shoulders.
Another siren sounded.
‘You guys,’ said Lucas. ‘You should go.’
‘But what about you?’ Harry wavered.
‘Nobody knows you’re here. They only think it’s me. No point in all three of us getting into trouble.’
‘But won’t they–’
‘Get out of here!’
With a sob, Guy tore away. Finding his legs, Harry hared after him. Behind the tractor shed he paused and looked back to see a police car pull into the yard. A lanky policeman with a shock of yellow hair got out.
A moan escaped Harry’s lips. It was Carrigan.
The local constable from their village, Carrigan was liked by some because he was zealous, but he was disliked for the same reason by others. He’d targeted Lucas the second he’d arrived, and it had been Carrigan who’d caught them on the farm in the summer and warned them of dire consequences if they ever set foot on Highfield again: I know the judge in juvie court. He’s a friend of mine. I’ll have him take you away from your mum and dad’s and send you to a home for delinquent kids.
Harry’s heart pounded as Carrigan opened the boot of his car. He pointed a finger at Lucas, then at the car boot. Lucas took a step back. As quick as a snake, Carrigan grabbed Lucas’s arm. He bent down and put his face close to Lucas’s as he spoke. His face was flushed, his fists bunched. Lucas tried to keep his body language defiant but Harry couldn’t miss the way his friend cringed.
Carrigan dragged Lucas to the back of his car. Pointed at the boot again. Head down, Lucas climbed inside.
Before Carrigan shut the boot, Lucas turned his head to look straight at Harry. His face was white, his eyes like black stones pressed in snow. He pressed a finger against his lips. Shhh. Don’t tell a soul.
Carrigan slammed the lid shut.
Harry was trembling. He wanted to throw up.
He watched as the policeman hopped in his car. As he started his engine, the fire service arrived. Carrigan wound down his window but the firemen didn’t stop. They waved him on, their attention on the burning barn. Carrigan drove off.
Harry turned and ran, feet pounding, until he was back safely in the village.
It didn’t take long for the news to come out that Mr Evans had died in the fire. Two cows survived but he’d died trying to free the third, an old favourite of his called Lucy. The barn had burned down to charcoal-topped stumps and a carpet of ash with him and Lucy still inside.
When Harry went to Lucas’s house at the end of the day, the relief at finding his friend safely at home nearly made him fall over. Lucas admitted Carrigan had let him off with a caution. He wasn’t going to go to court or a juvenile offender’s institution. And his parents would never find out what had happened. Everyone already thought it was a freak accident.
‘Why?’ Harry couldn’t work out why none of them were being punished.
Lucas picked at his fingernails. ‘Carrigan and I have a deal.’
‘What sort of deal?’
‘A private one.’
‘I don’t understand.’
But Lucas didn’t say any more. He told Harry to leave him alone – he didn’t want him around anymore. He didn’t want to see Guy either
From that day on, everything changed. The three friends no longer saw each other. Harry made new friends but occasionally, late at night, he’d lie in bed staring at the ceiling and wishing he’d stayed and taken the blame with Lucas because then the sad feeling in his chest might go away.