Saturday, 12 November 2016

The Two O'clock Boy - Mark Hill




One night changed their lives
Thirty years ago, the Longacre Children's Home stood on a London street where once-grand Victorian homes lay derelict. There its children lived in terror of Gordon Tallis, the home's manager.

Cries in the fire and smoke
Then Connor Laird arrived: a frighteningly intense boy who quickly became Tallis' favourite criminal helper. Soon after, destruction befell the Longacre, and the facts of that night have lain buried ...until today.

A truth both must hide
Now, a mysterious figure, the Two O'Clock Boy, is killing all who grew up there, one by one. DI Ray Drake will do whatever it take to stop the murders - but he will go even further to cover up the truth.

Discover the gripping, twist-filled start to a fantastic new London-set crime thriller series starring morally corrupt DI Ray Drake - the perfect new addiction for fans of Luther.


I don't quite know where to start with this except for with the statement. This completely blew my mind.

Kenny Overton is a petty criminal trying to do right. He has a job working the night shifts in a supermarket and is trying his best to do the right thing to make up for a life made up of mistakes and bad choices, but it is a life of which begun in a grim and poor children’s home many years ago. But someone doesn’t want to give Kenny the second chance he wants. Someone has been watching him all this time, waiting for the right moment to make him pay for all he has done in his past, to deny him of his happy ending. And the time has come.

When DI Ray Drake and the newly promoted DS Flick Crowley are called out to the scene of a brutal multiple murder, they sense that it is not going to be a straight-forward case. Three members of one family are slaughtered, the fourth escaping only by having left his phone at home that night. But who would want to kill them all, and in such a personal and gruesome way?

Drake knows instinctively that this is a message. That secrets which have laid buried for years are about to be exposed. Secrets which link back to the Longacre Children’s home, its manager, Gordon Tallis and one of the former residents, Connor Laird – a boy who harboured such anger and intensity within, that he terrified anyone he ever met.

With Drake fearing for his family’s safety and with the knowledge that so much depends on keeping the truth hidden, he knows he needs to find a way to prevent Crowley from following her instincts and investigating the children’s home with its ill-fated history and residents. But the killer, the ‘Two O’Clock Boy’, begins to taunt Drake, reminding him that no matter how much he denies it, their pasts, and their futures, are linked. The killer wants the secrets exposed and the question Drake has to ask himself is – how far is he willing go to stop the murders, protect his daughter and cover up the truth?

‘The Two O’Clock Boy’ is an extraordinary piece of work from author Mark Hill. Moving between the present day investigations and weeks in 1984 after Connor Laird first went to Longacre, Hill gives the reader a thrill, a ride full of twists and shocks. It brings up the questions of are the characters simply victims of their past, driven to poor life choices by a difficult and abusive start in life? or is it merely an excuse to justify their crimes? What is it that creates a criminal? A killer? it really gets you thinking about the answers to all of these questions and to begin with you have your mind set on the path the story is going to take but with me it went nowhere close and nearing the end I was pretty much re thinking all of the events and trying to figure it all out before I got to see if I was right or wrong.

The killer known as the ‘Two O’Clock Boy’ is an emotionally complex character. As his past is slowly comes out to the reader, you are put in a strange position where you feel a little sympathy for him as you do for all of those who he targets. What happens at the home is something which does make victims of them all emotionally and, ultimately, physically. Whether as a result you can forgive his actions or not is really up to the reader and how they feel about it all.The truth is complicated and isn't easy to simply condemn. For sure Hill’s writing messed with my emotions to a point where I couldn’t really,truly hate him, no matter what, and yet I still feared the execution of his plans.

When it comes to Ray Drake, you have an almost impossible character. A guy who doesn't really like to be a hero. He is driven by love for his family, and the need to keep them safe, which you can't help but respect. I can honestly say that I didn’t know how to feel about him. I liked his character at first, but as the story unfolded I found myself wondering how he was involved and what it was that the killer had over him. I didn’t trust him, then his past was unveiled, scene by scene, he became bit by little bit an even more complicated character. My feelings mirrored those of his partner DS Crowley; confused by Drake’s change in character, his determination to avoid the truth and to derail the investigation. He shocked me and made me go gah! in frustration. But I still liked him. A lot. I wanted to hate his character but found myself rooting for him instead.

Flick Crowley is a well written character. She has her own demons to battle, a poor relationship with her father and a is over reliant upon her sister, she is a very likeable character, I took to her almost immediately. Willed and determined she follows her gut and carries on with her investigations, in spite of Drake and l see her being a character with so much to give and more way for her to develop. She is certainly no pushover and a strong believer in acting on instinct. You can’t help but like her. Well I couldn't help liking her.

The writing is paced, the tension gradually builds up until the dramatic end as, chapter by chapter, more of the past and motivations are revealed. The twists in the story, the deception, are so well hidden that I didn’t see the majority of them coming until they were staring me right in the face. I thought I knew, but I was so very, very wrong. The thrill of the chase, the developing sense of danger, all driven by a truly great narrative, making this a literal page turner. And the ending just blew me further away than the rest of the book already had.

The murders are grizzly, the perpetrator without remorse and the protagonist divisive.I was pushed to keep reading. I wanted to learn all of the secrets of each character and the identity of The Two O'clock Boy and try to understand why the killer was so hell bent on such a vicious revenge. I want to know what the heck happens next for Drake and Crowley. What they have been though is definitely going to make for an interesting and complex dynamic in future books. I can't wait. its most definitely a 5/5. I must get a physical copy just so I can revisit it and experience the whole thing all over again. I received a free copy of the book from Netgalley in return I should give an honest review.


  1. Firstly, this is so well written! I wish I could write a review like this! And secondly, I really need to read this book now... I've never heard of it before and I'm already kind of obsessed...

    Beth xx

    1. It took time and effort, sometimes my reviews are badly written because I tend to forget how to word things but thankfully I managed it this time around. You should really read it one day it is an amazing book and totally worth the time.