The Institution by Helen Fields #review

Book cover of The Institution by Helen Fields

Title: The Institution
Helen Fields
Publisher: Avon Books


To beat them, she’ll have to join them…

On a locked ward in the world’s highest-security prison hospital for the criminally insane, a nurse has been murdered and her newborn baby kidnapped. A ransom must be paid, and the clock is ticking.

Forensic profiler Dr Connie Woolwine is renowned for her ability to get inside the mind of a murderer. Now she must go deep undercover among the most deranged and dangerous men on earth, and use her unique skills to find the baby – before it’s too late.

She has five days to catch the killer.

But with the walls of The Institution closing in on her, will her sanity last that long?

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My review:

The Institution is a gripping, claustrophobic read which brings a new meaning to the word ‘secure facility – there isn’t anything secure about this locked ward, especially if one of the people within its walls may have killed…

The premise is really interesting: forensic profiler Connie is going undercover as a therapist in a high-security hospital for prisoners, to find out what happened to the baby of a nurse there who has been murdered. Her colleague is also undercover as a prisoner there, raising the stakes further as Connie feels a sense of responsibility for him and for the baby who is out there somewhere at risk…

This book definitely builds a real sense of atmosphere as we spend more time inside the walls of the hospital. Like Connie, we don’t know who we can trust and the arrival of a storm (which, admittedly, felt like a trope that is often overdone) means it becomes more of a locked-room mystery which rams up the tension. Apparently, this is actually the second in a series featuring Connie Woolwine, but it can 100% be read as a standalone – I didn’t find I needed any additional background information or context to enjoy the book. It’s a gripping thriller that I enjoyed, though towards the third quarter of the book I did feel it lost steam a bit and could have been cut down a bit.

Overall, The Institution is a solid, compelling read. It feels quite different from the other books I’ve read so far by Helen Fields. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a fast-paced thriller.

My rating: 4/5

Many thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest review.


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