Cages by David Mark

‘Later, she will remember …’

Rufus Orton needs to earn some money. Money worries and family conflict occupy his mind. He once wrote a highly praised novel, but that was a while ago. And then, he is offered a position teaching creative writing at HMP Holderness. This has been organised by a young prison officer, Annabeth Harris, who is one of his remaining fans. Annabeth is highly regarded by management at HMP Holderness, and she is keen to try to improve the lives of the prisoners. But behind her competent exterior, Annabeth has a dark secret.

The creative writing class is organised, but the last-minute inclusion of Griffin Cox, a sex offender from the Vulnerable Prisoner wing, changes everything. While Cox is suspected of being a child killer, the police have been unable to find any evidence to prove this. But then an old and trusted friend of Cox’s starts talking.

Cox sees the creative writing class as an opportunity to arrange an escape. Will he succeed? Can Annabeth stop him?

And just when I thought I had worked it out, through various dramatic twists, there is a twist which I really did not expect. A satisfying, dark read. Highly recommended.

Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Severn House for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith