The Institution

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Pub Date 02 Mar 2023 | Archive Date Not set

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Description

Brilliant! The Institution is a harrowing, nonstop story that will grab you from the first page and not let go. Helen Fields is a master of suspense. You’ll consume it in one sitting.’ – International bestselling sensation JEFFERY DEAVER

They’re locked up for your safety.
Now, you’re locked in with them.

Dr Connie Woolwine has five days to catch a killer.

On a locked ward in the world’s highest-security prison hospital, a scream shatters the night. The next morning, a nurse’s body is found and her daughter has been taken. 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 girl – before it’s too late.

But as the walls close in around her, can Connie get the killer before The Institution gets her?

A claustrophobic, haunting crime thriller that will keep you up at night, perfect for those who couldn’t put down The Sanatorium and Amy McCulloch’s Breathless.

Readers never want to leave The Institution!

Terrifyingly brilliant and an absolute must-read for those who enjoy dark psychological thrillers.’ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

‘A very dark and exciting read. If you want to stay up all night, love serial killers or just want a strong female heroine , The Institution is for you!’ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

‘What a story! It gripped me right from the start of the opening chapter. Wow!’ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

‘Haunting, scary, shocking … this is a book that you won't forget in a hurry.’ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Dark and terrifying, The Institution had me committed to finishing it from the first chapter!’ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

‘Very much a chewed-fingernails read … a real roller-coaster’ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Dark, atmospheric, creepy and hauntingly good, and kept me guessing until the end. I loved it.’ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Brilliant! The Institution is a harrowing, nonstop story that will grab you from the first page and not let go. Helen Fields is a master of suspense. You’ll consume it in one sitting.’ –...


Available Editions

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ISBN 9780008533496
PRICE £5.99 (GBP)
PAGES 640

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Average rating from 85 members


Featured Reviews

Goodness me what a ride! This would make a brilliant Netflix movie!
Dr Connie Woolwine is working undercover at The Institution, a remote high security hospital for the criminally insane where a nurse is brutally murdered and her baby abducted for ransom.

It's a great plot with great characters and a wicked atmospheric backdrop.
Not to be read before bed as the tension is very palpable.

This book reads really well and gets you absorbed completely into the plot so beware to clear your schedule prior to starting this book.

The good news is that there is another book featuring Dr Connie Woolwine, "The Shadow Man", that I really look forward to reading too...

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Oh my god I could not put this down. It was claustrophobic in all the right ways. Absolutely brilliantly written and I was devastated when I finished it. Mystery from start to finish with plenty of twists.

Cannot recommend this book enough!

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Dr Connie Woolwine finds herself undercover in remote high security facility housing the criminally insane, The Institution.
Following the murder of one of the nurses and the brutal removal and abduction of her preterm baby Aurora, Connie will need all her profiling skills to discover the identity of the killer(s) and discover how the child was removed from the Institution.
The ransom demand has been made.
Can she with the help of Baarda discover the child`s whereabouts before its too late.
This is a real race against time drama where the suspense intensifies with every hour that passes.
Then a terrible storm hits and the Institution is totally cut off from the outside world, Connie realizes just how dangerous a situation she is in.
Everything and everybody is working against her.
A truly exciting read that gripped me from the very beginning, absolutely excellent, I loved it.
No hesitation in recommending this.
Many thanks to the author, Avon Books and Netgalley.

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Holy smokes my goosebumps had goosebumps!
This was set in the most chilling of places, the atmosphere was wonderfully created. Dark and twist and shocking this one was the whole package. The characters were amazing and relatable. The story was heart stopping. The end…. Mind blowing.
A fantastic fast paced page turner that will leave you breathless.

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Excellent read, the suspense heightened by the confines of the setting and the low number of possible perpetrators. The storyline was gripping from the start and then it had many twists and turns, so much so that Connie, the main character was left wondering who she could and could not trust. I thoroughly enjoyed Connie’s interaction with the inmates, all of whom were convicted murderers. Each one having their own very plausible story’s. I could not put it down and would thoroughly recommend the book and the author..
Hopefully we will see Connie Woolwine again, maybe in Havana?

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A Monstrous Place…
An horrific crime, a devastating fallout, a monstrous place, a ticking clock and a tantalising whodunnit. The author at her very best in this claustrophobic, tension fuelled, traumatic tale. With a credible and well crafted cast of characters, an atmospheric setting to set teeth on edge and perfect plotting this is a tale which grabs from the off and does not let go.

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This is definitely up there with the best books I've read of 2022.
It was a classic 'whodunnit' except this time it involves the horrific abduction of baby Aurora, a pre-term baby snatched from her mother's uterus for a ransom demanded by her abductors.
Dr Connie, with the support of her partner, must go undercover in The Institution, an isolated, high security jail for the criminally insane, and try to discover not only who killed the mother and snatched the baby, but also find clues to the whereabouts of the baby.
It's a race against time to find the baby before it's too late and everything and everyone is working against her.

I absolutely loved this book. I could feel Connie's frustration and her battle to try and figure out those people her around her. I could feel the desperation and the fast pace made me hooked to discover the conclusion.
I hope this isn't the last we hear of Dr Connie!

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The Institution by Helen Fields

This book is absolutely fantastic and has quickly become my favourite mystery/thriller I've read this year.

The action is intense and the threat of looming danger is constant, hooking readers right from the beginning. I couldn't stop reading and became utterly enveloped in the drama.

Dr Connie is a brilliant character. She is flawed, having spent time in a mental health facility herself, but this just makes her human and all the more relatable. The way she speaks to Tara right at the beginning made me love her as a character right from the first chapter.

The use of the flashbacks from the killers on the ward, sharing the details of their horrific crimes, was an interesting addition by the author.. I found this really showed the reader how high the stakes are for Connie and left us feeling constantly on edge, waiting to see if she would make it out alive.

Although I spent a long time analysing the clues given to us by the author, I still ended up being wrong in all my assumptions and was shocked by the reveal at the end. Clearly some real thought and planning went into this book, and it shows!

Highly recommend this book to anyone looking for an adrenaline rush or just a brilliant book to pull you out your slump.

5 out of 5 stars. Thank you to NetGalley, Avon Books UK and Helen Fields for allowing me to read this ARC.

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The Institution by Helen Fields

A wonderful , full on , thriller . It grabs you from the very first chapter and keeps you glued to it right up to the last page.
Just when you have it all nearly sorted in your head - Bam ! Another twist to blow your mind. Full on suspense and a psychological thriller to boot.
Once you pick up this book , clear your diary because you just want to keep reading.
A worthy 5 stars.

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Thank you Netgalley and Avon Books for an absolutely amazing read and Helen you’ve done it again.

I was totally gripped from the very beginning and as the story went on became more and more hooked.

This was an excellent thriller, murder mystery, tense psychological novel full or more twists and turns than you can ever expect - whatever you want to call it, this novel was everything rolled into one.

Set in a high security psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane during a terrible storm, running to a timescale to find a baby, this was so full of twists and turns and with a great pace you just had to keep up.

I only hope there is going to be a follow up, as the way it was left there certainly needs to be one, no spoilers, but someone is missing!!!

Helen’s novels just get better and better and she is not afraid to go where others fear to tread, yes at times you do wonder if things are believable but in the context of this story they certainly were.

It’s great to have Connie back in another book and I hope we have more of her and Brodie Baarda – I can see this going far. Maybe a book with Connie, Brodie, Ava and Luc?!!

I have now read all of Helen’s books and none of them have disappointed. I need more already.
Thank you so much and a huge 5 stars from me.

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Helen Fields has blown my mind AGAIN!
An absolute heart pounding read from beginning to end.
Dr Connie & her partner Baarda have to go undercover into The Institution, a remote asylum. There has been a gruesome crime and time is ticking for them to find the baby pulled out of her still breathing mother. This book really got all senses heightened and it was a rip racing read until the end. Who pulled off this most heinous stunt? Was it one of the incarcerated serial killers with nothing to loose and everything to gain?
Five stars for this from me even though some of it made for uncomfortable reading, an author that isn’t scared to go deep into uncomfortable subjects without turning it into a horror. If you want to be up all night don’t start this at bedtime.
I do not give 5 star reviews lightly, they have to be worthy & this was.
Thank you Netgalley & Helen Fields for an advanced copy of this book.

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Another interesting read from Fields, who always brings something new to the writers’ table. This one features Dr Connie again (Shadow Man). This time she’s trapped in a psychiatric asylum/prison for the criminally insane. .Very dark. I did have an idea early on as to the perpetrator but that didn’t spoil the read.

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This book is an amazing thriller; fast paced, an abundance of twists and turns and full of action! This was my first book, that I've read by this author and i will certainly be reading more!

I was absolutely gripped from the beginning and even more so during the second part, where I could not put this book down.

The story centres around Dr Connie Woolwine who goes undercover within a psychiatric institution in order to find the murderer of a recent staff member, whose child was abducted from her whilst pregnant. The race is on to find the baby. The question centres around was it the inmates who were guilty or one of the staff members.

Thank you to Netgally and the publisher for an ARC.

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So great! I can't recommend this book enough. I wish every thriller was this well written and engaging.

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I have read other books by Helen Fields and have loved them so was looking forward to this one. It didn’t disappoint. Engaging from the get go. Interesting characters. Lots of twist and turns and all together a great thriller.
ARC copy

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Rollercoaster ride of a book
I've not read the first in the series of these books, but I didn't feel that hindered the enjoyment of The Institution. Set in a remote location, The Institute is a hospital prison housing some of the most dangerous criminals. When Connie and Brodie are sent to investigate the kidnapping of a new born baby stolen from the womb of its mother, they get swept into a claustrophobic world of power play and manipulation.
Lots of characters I loved to hate and a tense, rapid writing style made this a great overall read.

With thanks to the publishers and Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review.

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Dr Connie Woodwine and her colleague Brodie Baarda are recruited to work under cover at a high security hospital for the criminally insane, the Institution. Their mission is to discover the whereabouts of a tiny, premature baby, taken via Caesarian Section from her mother who was left to die. The mother, Tara, was a nurse within the facility and the onus to find the culprit, plus where the baby is being held is put onto Dr Connie who is aware that the timescale is vital, not measured in days and weeks, but hours due to the fragility of the baby’s health.

Well, what a roller coaster of a ride this was! Twists and turns and the pace! As always Fields builds the suspense until you can’t breathe and then adds more. The plot is excellent and the storytelling superb. A master of her craft , this author has the skills and imagination that take your breath away. Never afraid to write the unthinkable (ok, I’m still not over the ending of Last Girl To Die!), and yes, at times the reader has to suspend belief, but that is no bad thing and makes the read all that more exciting.

More of this duo please.

Another brilliant book from a brilliant author.

Thank you NetGalley.

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I'm a big time fan of Fields work and I've enjoyed her previous books in the past!
This book was no different.
I can't thank Avon Books enough for the opportunity to read and review this title.

The Institution by Helen Fields is an absolutely addictive and mind-blowing thriller.
Fields' writing is excellent and the main character, she is well developed and believable.
This was a twisted, compelling book that seems like you know where its headed but you really have no idea.
The suspense was so palpable and I found myself unable to go to bed… I had to keep reading.
And when I find a book that has a hold of me like that, I know I have found a five star read.
An engrossing psychological thriller filled with twists and turns. I couldn’t put it down.
Helen Fields has done it again. Bringing us another remarkable story.

"I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own."

Avon,
Thank You for your generosity and gifting me a copy of this eARC!

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This is a detailed book of murder, mystery, and intrigue. The author is talented at writing a cannot put down story. Red herrings abound…secrets…characters who come alive on the pages…a plot that twists so many times it is difficult to discern the ending…a mental institution for the criminally insane…isolation…fear…impersonations…don’t read this book at night…sleeping won’t be possible…this would make a fantastic movie, but I am not sure I could get through the scary scenes. That being said, this is an unusual book…this book was sent to me by Netgalley electronically for review. Thanks also to the publisher and the author.

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4.5 stars

Buckle up, buddies! This book is full throttle from start to finish. You might remember Dr Connie from the 7th installment of the DI Callanch series. I was hoping we’d see more of her so I was glad to get a whole book! I love a good locked-in mystery and this one has it all in spades. Dr Connie and her partner go undercover at a remote psychiatric prison facility to investigate a horrible crime. Along the way, everyone is a suspect and you never know who to believe. Even Dr Connie herself is not always the most reliable narrator. This book goes into overdrive at the end and the twists keep coming. Be prepared for non-stop action and reveals! Now I don’t know if I want to see more of Dr Connie with Luc and Ava or on her own investigating with Baarda. Either way, bring it on!

*Thanks to Avon Publishing UK for sending me a copy for review. I was sad to have my US NetGalley request turned down & happy to have a second chance!

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Just wow.
I started reading this at night but i had to stop and read it throughout the day. I know it is your own imagination and can make it less suspenseful but this was written so well that it felt so real like i was there.
It is not very often that happens to me but i really had to finish it, i am glad i did because it was just so good!

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Wow Helen Fields never fails to keep me on the edge of my seat.This is a dark chilling wild ride of a read .Could not put down read late into the night,#netgalley#avonbooksuk

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Well this started off very different and I thought, I am not going to like this but it soon got really good so suspenseful. Now I am thinking I would even love it even better as an audio book.

The main characters are so different along with the premise and the plot. It was just so unusual. I just devoured it

I was given an advance copy by netgalley and the publishers but the review is entirely my own.

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Wow this is my first Helen Fields book but definitely won’t be my last! This was super intense and huge on the creep factor. Great character development that kept the story moving right along. So many secrets, lies and total deception. Gives a whole new meaning to the term psyche ward.
Highly recommend
Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book

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The Institution is an atmospheric, dark and disturbing killer thriller that grabs you from the first page. Superbly written, Helen Fields delivers a compelling, intense, page-turning novel with a fabulous, strong female lead. Bravo!

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I've loved everything I've read by Helen and I couldn't wait to read this. It had me hooked from the opening chapter.

The way the baby was kidnapped was horrifying and gruesome. There are only a few 'guests' in The Institution and it was fascinating to hear their backgrounds to why they were there. Its a tense, atmospheric read that has you turning the pages to find out who was behind the kidnap of baby Aurora. There is a part in the book, I won't say what because of a spoiler, where the tables were turned. Watching it play out made me sick to the stomach but in a twisted way I also enjoyed that bit.

My only niggle was towards the end it, when the electric failed, it went a bit unrealistic. That said I thoroughly enjoyed it, read it in one sitting and I'm now sat waiting for the next book.

4.5 stars

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Have read Helen Fields previously and really enjoyed her writing style. This book kept me guessing to the end and I couldn't put is down. Highly recommend

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The Insitution by Helen Fields is a superb and engrossing read with a great plot and engaging characters. Well worth the read!

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In The Institution, a high security home to the criminally insane, a young nurse is brutally murdered. Her unborn baby has been cut from her body and is now being held for ransom. Dr Connie Woolwine, a psychological profiler, is tasked with infiltrating the ward the murder took place on to see if she can discover the whereabouts of the baby. A ward which is home to the worst serial killers in the country.

Right from the beginning we have a seriously creepy story that will have you on edge from beginning to end. Combine this with a knowledge of writer Helen Fields and you know no-one is safe. The introduction unveils the despicable crime which has taken place. This then leads into the description of The Institution itself; set in the middle of nowhere, located next to a huge dam, all adds to the sense of isolation. Inside the building we get a sense of claustrophobia, despite the isolated location, as we read about the solidity of the walls and the numerous mechanisms in place as staff move from one building to the next, between floors and from one room to another. All designed to keep the patients and the staff safe.

The patients are terrifying. There are only five patients on the ward Connie infiltrates, they are the worst of the worst. Each one has been found guilty of atrocious crimes. As Connie interviews each one we learn their background and realise that despite being classed as insane they are all highly intelligent and master manipulators. Even more terrifying are the staff, people Connie should be able to work alongside and trust. Each one seems to be hiding something and you do wonder if one of them could be responsible.

Dr. Connie Woolwine is very empathetic and she uses this to get to know the patients and staff, however we are continually aware that there is a time pressure to find the baby and this adds to the overall intensity of the story. As events begin to move at a frenetic pace you feel the panic that Connie is in and wonder if she is going to be able to save the baby and herself.

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Wow what a crazy ride! This is a thriller that will have you turning the pages and not be. Able to put down. I can’t even tell you how crazy this story was! I hope there is a sequel.

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I´ve been lucky to read three book on the last month that are really difficult to get over. This is one of them. In fact, This one is not even published yet (Thanks Net Galley for the ARC) and I´m aready lookng forward for the sequel, cause Dr Connie Woolwine it does deserve a sequel.

Well written, fast passed, full of great characters not only the "good" ones but the villans too and a story that will keep the reader on the edge of their chairs till the very last moment. To be honest, it make me sencond guess my asumtions more than once. I even started thinking this was a Shutter Island kind thing, but you will have to read it if you want to kno w for sure.

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Forensic Profiler Dr. Connie Woolwine is called out to a murder and newborn baby kidnapping at a high security prison hospital for the criminally insane. Nurse Tara Cameron was well loved by both her co-workers and the dangerous criminals that she cared for on a daily bases. She was a week away from maternity leave but someone inside the walls of the hospital removed the baby from her womb and left her restrained to a medical table to die before sending her body down a laundry chute and dropped into an awaiting truck.

The baby is being held for ransom and it’s up to Dr. Woolwine to find baby Aurora before it’s too late. A newborn baby, ripped away from its mother, will only survive around 5 days without proper nutrition and care. Dr. Woolwine is going undercover as a psychologist within the hospital’s walls in order to interview patients and try to figure out more information on Nurse Cameron and where baby Aurora could be.

When a terrible storm blows in and the power goes out, Dr. Woolwine is alone with four criminally insane serial killers and her life is in terrible danger!

This book was around 400 pages long but I was glued to the storyline and was rooting for a happy ending. After a venturesome game of cat and mouse, the ending was powerful! This novel was gripping, bone-chilling and I recommend all my thriller loving friends to read it.

This was my first book by Helen Fields and I find her imagination, that went into this book, both fascinating and frightening at the same time.

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Wow, what an edge of your seat book. Dark, disturbing and desperate at times but a roller coaster of a ride. I couldn't put it down. Thank you netgalley for the advanced copy

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This was my 1st book from Helen Fields and omg, have I been missing out!! Its everything I want in my thrillers, dark, twisty, atmospheric and without being just torture porn or gory for shock value. Its so cleverly written and keeps you hooked. I had absolutely no clue who was behind it all until the big reveal. Absolutely recommend

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Thank you to netgalley for the chance to read another great read from the amazing Helen Fields.
Helen Fields is of course one one my favourite authors. She has an amzing series, but she also has some equally amazing standalones. This book was no exception. I spent the whole book guessing who dunnit, and im pretty proud of how close i came, but i wasnt quite there. This book is whole of tense moments, which kept me on the edge of my seat. We see a return of the amazing Connie and Baarda who come together to solve a murder that happens at the instituation. As always with Helen Fields, i was hooked. I was happy to see connie and baarda again as i was hooked on their previous story, also a few other names i recognised aswell. As always, a five star read from Helen.

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This is the second novel featuring Dr Connie Woodwine and Brodie Baarda, first appearing in the excellent Shadow Man.

Psychological profiler Connie studies the body of nurse Tara Cameron to try to work out what has happened to her. There is little forensic evidence to go on despite her injuries and horrific violation. There is at best a five day window to find the baby ripped from her body, it’s a life or death race against time as a ransom demand for 5 million in crypto currency is delivered to her family. Connie goes undercover as a therapist working for the military via “Patient B“ and both arrive at the Charles Horatio Parry Institute for the Rehabilitation of the Criminally Insane to try to unmask the perpetrators at the secure unit where Tara has worked.

I am running out of superlatives to describe a Helen Fields novel and the sense of anticipation as you take a dive beneath the pages is intense.
This is utterly gripping and most certainly a buckle up, strap yourself in read and prepare to have a sore jaw as it hit the deck with a resounding thump on several occasions.

Where to start with this edge of your seat read which I defy you to put down easily!!? First of all, the Institute is like a character in its own right with its sordid 200 year history making it a scary overwhelming place that gives off Gothic vibes at times and feels dystopian at others. The author uses its isolated location to great effect and let’s chuck in some adverse weather and it becomes utterly spine chilling.

Secondly, the characters are excellently conveyed especially that of Connie who is utterly fascinating as she is so very different as she uses her many skills to navigate this dangerous play. Through what unfolds here you learn more about Connie‘s backstory which is very revealing. ‘Heaven Ward’ high up in the skies houses very dangerous offenders and their portrayals make your skin crawl. The evil concentrated in this one place is almost overwhelming and definitely palpable. What pulls you even further into the storytelling is the conundrum of the staff. They are, let’s settle for interesting!! Some of the encounters with Connie are strange, unsettling with distinct off notes thus raising a multiplicity of suspicions.

The danger levels which are already high at the start reach Mount Everest proportions, its fear inducing and scary. It is very dark, inevitably disturbing, chock-full of tension and you feel the emotions and pressure that Connie is under. The twists and turns in this rollercoaster read our fantastic as we hurtle pell-mell to an excellent ending.

This is another crackingly powerful mindblower of a read from an author I rate very highly. It’s a warp speed ever changing plot which keeps you super glued to the pages.

More Connie and Brodie please, thank you!

With thanks to NetGalley and especially to Avon Books U.K. for the much appreciated arc in return for an honest review.

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On a locked ward in the world’s highest-security prison hospital, a scream shatters the night. The next morning, a nurse’s body is found and her daughter has been taken. 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 girl before it’s too late.
But as the walls close in around her, can Connie get the killer before The Institution gets her?
Really enjoyable read and totally recommend
Thank you NetGalley and Avon Books Uk
I just reviewed The Institution by Helen Fields. #TheInstitution #NetGalley

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Another wonderful book by Helen Fields! This is the second book featuring Dr Connie Woolwine but can be read as a stand-alone novel.

Gripping, intense and enjoyable, I really enjoyed this book and recommend it to fans of thrillers.

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Helen Fields talent for creating atmospheric thrillers knows no bounds. I’ve enjoyed every book I’ve read and this foray into the locked room mystery is no exception.

A nurse is murdered in an excruciating way and her baby stolen. The crime takes place within a secure psychiatric unit, remote and housing the most dangerous criminally insane. The search is on to find the baby and the clock’s ticking. Two undercover investigators go in to save the day.

This is a real page turner; what a ride right from the outset. The sense of bleak isolation is almost palpable as the story opens and the secure unit is described. I felt physically chilled. The characters are a mixed bunch of intelligent, violent or deranged inmates and staff who seem to have their own agenda. This tale is just brilliantly to,d. The tension racks up and I was fearing for the safety of the two investigators right from the outset. It’s a very clever murder mystery and totally satisfying. Fields can nail dialogue, locus and plotting every time. Buckle up for a bumpy ride. Absolutely loved this.

My thanks to the publisher for a review copy via Netgalley.

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Terrifyingly brilliant and an absolute must-read for those who enjoy dark psychological thrillers.

After leaving us all on a momentous cliff hanger in her Perfect series. Helen Field’s has taken some time away to write a second Connie Woolwine novel and wow is it good!!

Connie is described (at best) as ‘odd’. She’s undeniably brilliantly minded and very good at what she does but she has unusual methods to attain those results. Which is why she’s best working alone or alongside her good friend, Baards.

Both, in this book decide to go under cover and for Connie it’s a real first. Not only because she now has to go against her makeup and be less open, honest and forthright. But also because Connie has her own PTSD of being committed when she was younger.

There’s a real sense of urgency in this book, not just because of the missing baby but also because of the intensity of the situation. It’s a real lock-in murder mystery. And all the suspects are people you would either trust with your life or trust that they will end your life!

I loved the development of Helen’s Connie Woolwine character. Whilst we witness a slight unraveling of her nature and spirit we also gain better insight into why she does what she does and how that is so intrinsically entwined in her character. Connie is left to really go it alone for much of this novel as Baarda is otherwise detained. I like the tension of emotions between these two. They genuinely have feelings that run deeper than friendship for each other and I suppose just like Ava and Luc they will eventually get together. However I do feel these two are better as a collaboration not as a couple. So please Helen, if you’re reading this, don’t let them date each other.

This book is absolutely brilliant, right from the first chapter the whole storyline just jumps right off of the page and you’ve no hope of not being drawn in or thrilled. It’s gory, but not unnecessarily so. The initial crime you read about is brutal and may be triggering for some - so watch out! But the whole process of elimination and the set up of the ward and it’s location is really quite masterful. I compared it on my social media to Cluedo and I still standby that analogy. It’s a real who-dunnit of a thriller. As we know half of the suspects are capable! It’s whittling out the ones who would need to, have the skills for. And in parallel you also need to figure out who out of the staff would be that motivated to commit murder and abduction within a maximum security setting? It’s just madness! 😊

This book has been structured in a way that means it can be read as a standalone novel. Whilst it is only the second of the series Helen doesn’t waste her words given you all of Connie’s history and backstory to her previous book. Helens style is more that if it is necessary to the story you will be told. If you want more then I really recommend you read Shadow Man as that’s just as amazing!

I think the only negative for me was that Connie, whilst brilliant. Doesn’t take or follow her own advice. I thought her choice to take up another job at the end was somewhat disappointing as I felt it reflected badly on her character in that she chose work over family (again). And in particular after just helping a family deal with all of the emotions and thoughts that her own family would need help for. That said… give me the next book!!!

Thanks as ever to NetGalley for my advance copy in exchange for my honest review.

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A very dark and exciting read! Note this is definitely different from the tone of the Hunting Party!

In the Institution, we meet forensic profiler Dr Connie Woolwine. Connie is well known for her abilities to connect with murderers and we learn that her ability and interest is based on a childhood experience in an institution. In this story, she is paired with an undercover agent inside an institution for the most dangerous killers

The very first chapter grabs you by the shoulders and shakes you as we learn that a nurse was abducted and murdered and her unborn child was stolen. Connie and her uncover partner have very little time to identify who in the Institution is behind this grisely event. A incoming storm shuts off passage to and from the campus and the electricity begins to flicker. The walls are literally caving in as Connie works against the clock to identify the enemy and find the lost child.

This book is a dark thriller with descriptions of murder that are not for the faint of heart. Connie is an interesting and unique character with lots of insights. Fields provides a creepy and claustrophobic backdrop of a setting, including the biographies of many of the despicable killers. I hope this isn't the last we have heard of Connie!
If you want to stay up all night, love serial killers and forensic psychology or just want a strong female heroine featured, The Institution is for you!

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This book was everything that I want at this time of year, who doesn't want to read a book about an institution - which always makes me instantly think asylum for some weird reason - in spooky season. It was dark, atmospheric, creepy and hauntingly good that kept me guessing until the end. I loved it.

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What a story!!!!.....I couldn't put it down, it gripped right from the start the opening chapter wow! It is set in an "Institute" which houses serial killers, and starts with the murder of a nurse and the abduction of her baby. Dr Connie Woolwine goes undercover to investigate, this has a huge impact on her own mental health. Very atmospheric, dark and utterly compelling with many layers, stories within stories. Most of the characters thoroughly unpleasant, but this is what Connie has to deal with. Such a thought provoking read, give it a go.

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The Institution by Helen Fields is not so much a locked room mystery as a locked ward mystery with that ward being in a secure psychiatric facility for some of the countries most dangerous criminals,

The Institution is a remote and almost brooding old building frequently cut off from the outside world in bad weather and the book often almost reads like a Gothic horror tale as much as a crime thriller

A Nurse is brutally murdered and a pre-natal Caesarean performed to kidnap her Baby. With the clock counting down as the desperate parents of the murdered Nurse have been given a deadline to pay a ransom before the Baby is harmed with video proof that they have her.They employ Forensic profiler Dr Connie Woolwine ,who Helen Fields fans will remember from "The Shadow Man" to investigate. This involves her going undercover to attempt to covertly discover which of the ward's resident psychopathic killers committed the horrific crime........and not least find out how the Baby was taken away from the locked ward. Connie Woolwine soon finds herself in immediate peril surrounded by a cast of unpleasant and potentially dangerous people...staff as well as inmates.

This is dark even by Helen Fields' standards and it's very much a chewed fingernails read. There's' some very explicit violence and general nastiness with Woolwine not only finding herself in physical danger in some very disturbing scenes.If you're of a sensitive disposition this book is best avoided.
Characters from previous Helen Fields books play parts of various prominence ,some fleeting,others not so and while this one takes a while to really get going fans won't be disappointed as once the scene and background are set it's a real roller-coaster.

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Haunting, scary, shocking with some graphic moments thrown in this is a book that you won't forget in a hurry. From the prologue you will follow Dr Connie all the way in her quest to find out who murdered Tara Cameron and stole her unborn baby from her body, before time runs out for baby Aurora. But this is no normal murder as they are only a few suspects and they're all based in The Institution, dangerous mentally ill,
serial killers, all locked up for the rest of their lives. Connie is with limited staff members and has no idea who to trust, surely whoever killed Tara had help?
This was a fairly long read but an unputdownable novel. Would make a great film or TV series. Brilliantly written

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The Institution is utterly terrifying!

It's such a remarkable premise. Imagine looking for a murderer on a high-security ward full of serial killers. That idea alone had me totally gripped, as Dr Connie goes undercover to assess and analyse the staff and patients (or "guests") of the highest security ward in a remote institution for the criminally insane. It's an incredibly dangerous and highly unsettling assignment, particularly as her own past traumas arise, but with a dead nurse and a missing premature baby she's prepared to go to any lengths to solve this crime and only has days at best before the missing baby becomes another murder to solve.

The time-sensitive nature of Connie's mission means that there's always so much tension and pressure in this book. Every hour that goes by feels like precious life slipping away. Then nature takes a hand, and as a fire rages and the tension rises like the floodwaters. There are strong elements of isolation and loss of control, all exaggerated and made so much more immediate by the clinical setting. It's scary, it's disorienting. It's impossible to know who to trust, who to fear and which way to turn and through the urgency of the writing the reader is right there alongside Dr Connie.

This is also a book about mental health, particularly at the more extreme end of psychopathy. It's about the people who suffer from it and what it can drive them to do but it's also about the people who treat them, and why they do it. It feels very critical of a lot of the treatment and practitioners, from outdated beliefs about treating female hysteria to newer, softer methods. Running through it all is the grimness of being committed, of losing any control over what happens to you, of not being treated as a human but talked over, forcibly medicated or restrained. It's dark and unpleasant and so very effective.

For all of the darkness, this is a book with some touchingly tender moments, particularly the emotional exchanges Connie has with the dead nurse, Tara, and her support of Tara's mother. It really reinforces why Connie put herself in such a precarious position, risking everything to save one precious baby.

Dark and terrifying, the Institution had me committed to finishing it from the first chapter!

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