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The Two O’Clock Boy by Mark Hill – a review


I was given a copy of this via netgalley and the publishers Little Brown Book group.

This is the debut novel by Mark Hill, who has previously been known as Crime Thriller Fella on his book review blog.

The Two O’Clock Boy opens with a young boy, killing his parents. Back in the present day DS Flick Crowley is given her first big case to lead on. A man and his family have been murdered in their home. Other murders soon follow, and it becomes clear to Flick that they are all somehow linked to a children’s home in the eighties. Unfortunately her superior DI Drake isn’t convinced and pushes her to investigate other avenues. However as the murders continue they have to start working together to find out if they can stop the Two O’Clock Boy.

Having read this story straight after an altogether gentler read by Francis Brody it came as a bit of a shock to the system. Which is not a criticism at all – this is how I like my crime, gritty, dirty and brutal. The book flips between the current investigation into the crimes, and flashbacks to the children’s home. Gradually what happened to the boys and girls in the home become clear, as does the reason behind the present day murders.

This was a book that did cause me a little confusion. Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed it, I did feel that some of it was a little bit unrealistic, relying as it did on people not recognising other people. I also felt that the way DS Crowley was treated by DI Drake was something that would have caused red flags instantly to someone who was a good detective.

However putting that aside, I thought this was an excellent debut. I liked the main characters. As all fictional detectives do they have secrets and torments in their pasts however this didn’t take over from the actual plot which can sometimes be the case in a debut.

The twists and turns within the story were interesting, and kept me moving forward at a good pace. There was also some reveals at the end that I didn’t see coming at all which I always like. I thought this was a really good debut that deserves to do well.

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