The One Who Fell (2023) by Kerry Wilkinson

Millie Westlake is not popular in the town of Whitecliff. She has a notorious past, a ruined marriage and yet she is determined to find her place in the community. The local nursing home, where she volunteers, is the one place where she feels welcome, her one escape from the questions about the fate of her parents, but when Ingrid, an elderly resident, tells her of the day she saw a girl pushed from a nearby roof, Millie is the only one who believes her.

Finding an unlikely ally in a local journalist, Millie is determined to find the truth in Ingrid’s story. But with a broken tile the only thing resembling evidence, is the only result of Millie’s investigations to make a new enemy in the shape of the owner of the aforementioned roof? And what is the mysterious creature stalking the shadows?

Well, this is a an interesting one, not least in the publishing schedule. The One Who Fell is the first of four books in the series so far, released on 17th April this year, followed by The One Who Was Taken and The Ones Who Were Buried, both also released on the same day, and they will be followed by The Ones Who Are Hidden… um, a month later. I guess someone has been busy over lockdown.

I read a lot of Kerry’s Jessica Daniel mystery/thrillers early on in the life of the blog and then read a couple more after a break – I always enjoyed them and I’ve no reason why I ever took a long break from the series. Pretty sure that… yep… I wrote at the end of the last review that I’d be back to the series soon, three and a bit years ago. Oops.

Anyway, when I saw this on Netgalley, I thought I’d take a look. And it fits fairly neatly into a theme from this month’s read. Just with Death Under A Little Sky, Vera Wong and Murder Under The Tuscan Sun, this is just as concerned about the trials and tribulations of the lead character as it is about the mystery at the centre of the tale.

And I’m going to be honest here, I think this one swings too much towards the mysteries of Millie’s past, as while the story of the girl on the roof is remarkably effective and something I haven’t seen before, there isn’t an awful lot of complexity to it. It’s also very much a what-happened rather than whodunnit tale. This feels like a scene-setter for the overarching arc concerning Millie’s past and, apologies for vague spoilers here, not everything about it is revealed here. It even ends with a “will we find out about… – read the next book.” So I suppose the most important question is, will I read the next book to find out?

And the answer is… maybe. Maybe I will. Maybe I’ll finally go back to the next Jessica Daniel book (as that had something of a cliffhanger too, iirc). But I’m not a fan of that sort of thing, I like things to be completely self-contained. So it’s a definite maybe.

The One Who Fell is out from Bookoutre on ebook (currently free, btw) and paperback, as are the sequels.

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