Two Suspects. Two identical stories. Which one is the truth?
Wilbrook in Western Australia is a sleepy, remote town that sits on the edge of miles and miles of unexplored wilderness. It is home to Police Sergeant Chandler Jenkins, who is proud to run the town’s small police station, a place used to dealing with domestic disputes and noise complaints.
All that changes on a scorching day when an injured man stumbles into Chandler’s station. He’s covered in dried blood. His name is Gabriel. He tells Chandler what he remembers – he was drugged and driven to a cabin in the mountains and tied up in iron chains. The man who took him was called Heath. Heath told Gabriel he was going to be number 55. His 55th victim. Heath is a serial killer.
As a manhunt is launched, a man who says he is Heath walks into the same station. He tells Chandler he was taken by a man named Gabriel. Gabriel told Heath he was going to be victim 55. Gabriel is the serial killer.
Police Sergeant Chandler Jenkins needs to find out who is telling the truth – and quick. He is forced to call in Mitch, his former partner and now insufferable superior, a partnership which dissolved in acrimony years earlier. Can Mitch and Chandler uncover the truth, before the 55th victim is taken?
James Delargy has written one of the most exciting debuts of 2019. He masterfully paints the picture of a remote Western Australian town and its people, swallowed whole by the hunt for a serial killer.
Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for 55 by James Delargy. I can’t believe that this is actually a debut! It’s very well plotted and shows incredible promise from this new author. I can’t wait to see what he brings us next.
For a brief time we enter the small, remote town of Wilbrook. A community where the local police sergeant knows all his residents. His small team are like a second family to him and life is quiet. That is until one day Gabriel walks in to his station claiming to have escaped from a serial killer, a man called Heath. Of course things become complicated when a man called Heath arrives at the station claiming that Gabriel kidnapped and tried to kill him. This is what we do know as we go into the story and James skilfully carries us through, leading us to conclusions and then shattering them along the way. The twists and turns kept me on my feet and although I thought I knew what was going on, he made me constantly doubt myself right the way through. It made for exciting reading.
I was immediately on Chandlers side and I can’t tell you how many times I would have quite happily punched Mitch in the face. His arrogance, lack of empathy and the underhand way in which he treated Chandler, left me wondering just what had gone on between these two men who had once been ‘friends’. As the story unfolds we also flash back to a time when both men were newly instated as officers and worked together on a case searching the harsh Australian outback for a lost teenager. That case had a lasting impression on both men and it’s not surprising that it now comes back to haunt them. However, no one could have foreseen the devastating consequences that it would have brought so many years later as Chandler and Mitch attempt to put their issues aside and work on this new case. Old ghosts are hard to bury though and soon the investigation becomes personal and very deadly.
The two suspects also made a lasting impression and my mind changed on many occasions as to which one was the guilty party. Now it’s not often that I get spooked by a book whilst reading during the day but this one certainly had me on edge. Snuggled up on my sofa, alone in the house and suddenly every creak and groan of my surroundings became an ominous sign. My pulse raced and yes I was very nervous when nature called and I had to venture upstairs. I had to check EVERY ROOM for goodness sake. This is an absolutely riveting read and one that had me on the edge of my seat right from the very start. The ending left me with my heart in my mouth as James tormented my imagination right to the very last word. I’m thrilled to discover that there may be a film adaptation and hope that comes to fruition. I urge you to read 55 and thoroughly recommend it!
About the author
James Delargy was born and raised in Ireland and lived in South Africa, Australia and Scotland, before ending up in semi-rural England where he now lives. He incorporates his diverse knowledge of towns, cities, landscape and culture picked up on his travels into his writing. 55 is his first novel, which has been sold in 19 countries so far and optioned for film by Zucker Productions in partnership with Prodigy Pictures.
You can follow James on Twitter at @JDelargyAuthor
For more information visit his website at Jamesdelargy.com