Behind Closed Doors

Behind Closed Doors

4.7 6
by Elizabeth Haynes

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Ten years ago, fifteen-year-old Scarlett Rainsford vanished while on a family holiday in Greece. Was she abducted, or did she run away? Lou Smith worked the case as a police constable, and failing to find Scarlett has been one of the biggest regrets of her career. No one is more shocked than Lou to learn that Scarlett has unexpectedly been found during a Special


Ten years ago, fifteen-year-old Scarlett Rainsford vanished while on a family holiday in Greece. Was she abducted, or did she run away? Lou Smith worked the case as a police constable, and failing to find Scarlett has been one of the biggest regrets of her career. No one is more shocked than Lou to learn that Scarlett has unexpectedly been found during a Special Branch raid of a brothel in Briarstone.

Lou and her Major Crimes team are already stretched working two troubling cases: nineteen-year-old Ian Palmer was found badly beaten; soon after, bar owner Carl McVey was found half-buried in the woods, his Rolex and money gone. While Lou tries to establish the links between the two cases, DS Sam Hollands works with Special Branch to question Scarlett. What happened to her? Where has she been until now? And why is her family—with the exception of her emotionally fragile younger sister, Juliette—less than enthusiastic about her return?

When another brutal assault and homicide are linked to the McVey murder, Lou's cases collide, and the clues all point in one terrifying direction. As the pressure and the danger mount, it becomes clear that the silent, secretive Scarlett holds the key to everything.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Haynes’s harrowing second novel set in the English town of Briarstone (after 2014’s Under a Silent Moon), Scarlett Rainsford, who disappeared on a family trip to Greece in 2003 when she was 15, is discovered a decade later during a raid on a brothel, living under an assumed name. The case is particularly vexing for recently promoted Det. Chief Insp. Louisa “Lou” Smith and her Major Crime team, as she worked the original case when Scarlett vanished. As Lou and her fellow officers attempt to determine if the beating of a local ne’er-do-well and the murder of a pub owner are related, Scarlett begins to talk about her ordeal as a prostitute for a European crime ring. When Scarlett vanishes again, Lou must try to find her before the dark forces of her former life can reclaim her. Vivid, unsparing prose, including brutal passages from Scarlett’s point of view, helps make this a haunting, highly disturbing mystery. Agent: Adrian Weston, Adrian Weston Literary Agency. (Apr.)
“An involving police procedural with a protagonist who agonizes about maintaining both a committed personal relationship and a demanding career.”
Library Journal
Fifteen-year-old Scarlett Rainsford is abducted while on a family vacation to Greece. For ten years she is shuttled about Europe by traffickers, working as a prostitute and cleaning slave. The police are stumped and the case quickly grows cold. Clues are few, and her seriously dysfunctional family is strangely apathetic. When Scarlett finally does turn up in the Special Branch raid of a brothel in her hometown of Briarstone, Lou Smith and her Major Crimes team pick up the case again, and startling local links are revealed. Gradually Scarlettt begins to open up to young DS Sam Holland and tell her truly terrifying story. Where has she been? How did she end up back home? And why is her younger sister the only one who seems glad to see her? DS Holland and Lou Smith, last seen in Haynes's Into the Darkest Corner, work a tough and very delicate case with skill and tenacity. VERDICT Not for the squeamish, this is a gritty account of the brutality of female trafficking and the pain of child abuse. Haynes pulls no punches telling Scarlett's tale, but the skillful police work and superb ending make the reading truly worthwhile. Mystery readers will want more Haynes! [See Prepub Alert, 9/8/14.]—Susan Clifford Braun, Bainbridge Island, WA
School Library Journal
When a teenager goes missing on a family vacation, the usual questions are raised about whether her disappearance may be due to arguments within the family (running away) or having met a stranger (abduction). With the family of the missing girl being rather close-mouthed about their lives, and the knowledge that she didn't have opportunities to go and meet anyone, the assumption is that she ran away. So when she reappears 10 years later during a raid on a brothel, why won't she tell the police what happened in the intervening years? An even bigger question might be why aren't the family members reuniting now? These are the questions that Detective Louisa Smith hopes to answer, but without much help from either Scarlett or her family. The chapters take place in the present day and through flashbacks, and Scarlett's story and the investigation unfold in surprising ways. The hold human traffickers have on their victims can sometimes trump familial ties, particularly if those ties are frayed from the start. The secrets that the family chooses to keep will shock teens. VERDICT A solid choice for fans of darker mysteries, like those of Carol O'Connell or Gillian Flynn.—Laura Pearle, Miss Porter's School, CT

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Briarstone Series , #2
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.11(d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Haynes is a former police intelligence analyst, a civilian role that involves determining patterns in offending and criminal behavior. She is the New York Times bestselling author of Into the Darkest Corner, Dark Tide, Human Remains, and, most recently, Under a Silent Moon, the first installment of the Briarstone crime series.

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Behind Closed Doors: A Novel 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read it in less than two days because I just couldn't put it down. Excellent story, wonderful characters. A must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a must read for any mystery lovers. It has a British flavor/flare..I will be reading more of her work.
Twink More than 1 year ago
I've been a fan of Elizabeth Haynes since I stumbled upon her first book - Into the Darkest Corner. She was quickly added to my list of 'must read every book they write' authors. Behind Closed Doors is Haynes's fifth book and the second to feature Detective Inspector Louisa Smith of the Briarstone Major Crimes division. Teenager Scarlett Rainford disappeared ten years ago while on vacation with her family in Greece.  Was she taken? Or did she run away? She - or her body -was never found. Until now. A raid on a local brothel with ties to organized crimes turns up a woman named Katie working there - and Katie says her real name is Scarlett Rainford. Lou is shaken - she was a young constable who worked on the case ten years and she's always wondered what happened to Scarlett. Did they look hard enough? Did the Greek police follow every lead? And most frightening of all - what kind of life has Scarlett had for the last ten years? Haynes employs a dual narrative in Behind Closed Doors. We discover what happened to Scarlett in her own voice from ten years ago, but we're also in present day with Louisa as she attempts to piece together what happened to Scarlett all those years ago - and why she is so reticent to reconnect with her family. This technique always guarantees a late night for me. I need to read just one more chapter (and then another 'one more') until I chase down the threads of a character's story. Scarlett's narrative was particularly addicting. (Despite the horrific nature of Scarlett's past, Haynes does not delve into unnecessary graphic detail) I really like Lou as a character - she's driven, dedicated, not perfect and a bit vulnerable. Her personal storyline reveals a woman torn between job and partner. (Quite fun that her love interest is Canadian!) The plot and subject matter of Behind Closed Doors is dark and difficult. Haynes handles the crimes, the procedures, the investigation and more with a practiced insider's eye, as she has worked as a police intelligence analyst. A number of these type of reports are part of the book and detail a parallel plot line revolving around organized crime mobs. Now, I had my suspicions as the book moved towards resolution. I was right in some aspects, but wrong in others. Haynes's writing, plot and characters kept me fully engaged and compulsively reading until the last page was turned.
MelissaFlicks 7 months ago
Elizabeth Haynes brings serious topics to life in her crime fiction novel, Behind Closed Doors. From childhood abuse, abduction, and human sex trafficking, Haynes brings the reader along the horrific journey of fifteen-year-old Scarlett Rainsford. Not only does Haynes do an terrific job in creating an emotional character doing what she can to survive in modern slavery, she also gives us a wide array of characters working in police intelligence who are working the Rainsford case. I truly enjoyed this book. I found that it was intense and thrilling; At the same time I found myself saddened at the thought that these things – these crimes- are quite real and happening far more than we know. Haynes shifting style of writing in both past and present through various characters point of view was interesting. One of the main characters, Lou – a police constable who worked the Rainsford case during Scarlett’s initial abduction- finds herself deep into the case as she tries to close the one that has haunted her career. Haynes ability to develop strong backstory for Lou shows a very real-life look into how these crimes not only effect the victims and the victims family, but also those who are working the cases as well. My favorite aspect of Behind Closed Doors is it’s similarity to Emma Donoghue’s ROOM in showing that the victim’s story doesn’t end happily once they are found; there are psychological issues in working through the trauma of being abducted, of being the victim of various types of abuse, and the realization that returning to their previous lives is a major adjustment. Of the characters, my favorite is Lou. She is passionate about her case, obsessive to the point where it becomes the main focus in her life. Her struggle to balance her work life and maintaining a budding relationship, and the pressure from her loved ones to settle down and start a family, in my opinion, is easy to relate to. I recommend this book to anyone who is not only a fan of crime fiction, but to those who enjoy reading trauma survivor stories as well. I look forward to reading more from Elizabeth Haynes.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow slow down
Anonymous 20 days ago