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?
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.