Tuesday 28 February 2023

The Institution - Helen Fields

They’re locked up for your safety.
Now, you’re locked in with them.

Dr Connie Woolwine has five days to catch a killer.

On a locked ward in the world’s highest-security prison hospital, a scream shatters the night. The next morning, a nurse’s body is found and her daughter has been taken. A ransom must be paid, and the clock is ticking.

Forensic profiler Dr Connie Woolwine is renowned for her ability to get inside the mind of a murderer. Now, she must go deep undercover among the most deranged and dangerous men on earth and use her unique skills to find the girl – before it’s too late.

But as the walls close in around her, can Connie get the killer before The Institution gets her?

What did I think?

WOW!  Just WOW!  Do not miss this book!  I have to start my review of The Institution by saying how amazingly brilliant it is.  It's a standalone novel but I was absolutely delighted to be reacquainted with profiler Connie Woolwine and former DI Brodie Baarda who we met in The Shadow Man.  

Set on a criminally insane ward in a remote location, it's fraught with danger as Woolwine and Baarda go undercover to find a murderer after a most heinous crime is committed on site.  It's certainly no mean feat as every man held there is a killer.  Imagine Hannibal Lector being the main character in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, The Institution is sort of like that.  Are the 'guests' insane or dangerous?  Can any member of staff be trusted?

The increasing danger level had me on high alert throughout the book.  There were several scenes where I gasped out loud or held my breath and I had absolutely no idea who had committed this awful murder, how they'd done it or why.  When all is revealed, the conclusion is immensely satisfying and it left me fist pumping the air (and with a little bit of sick in my mouth - yuk!).

The storyline is very chilling, but it was the last line that gave me goosebumps and chilled me to the bone.  I'm not going to quote it and it could be quite innocent to a lot of people but it really resonated with me as I have been there and regretted it.  I hope it's not something that Connie Woolwine will come to regret and I hope it's a sign that there are more Woolwine and Baarda books to come.

With characters that gave me nightmares, The Institution is gripping, addictive and chilling.  The writing, plot, characters and chilling location are all outstanding and I was left both breathless and speechless at the end.  It's brilliant from start to finish and an easy five stars.  Very highly recommended.

I  chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

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