Book Review: The Institution by Helen Fields

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

Set to be published on 2nd March, The Institution by Helen Fields follows forensic profiler Dr Connie Woolwine who 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. Connie 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?


Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for free copies of this book in exchange for an honest review.

A forensic profiler? A secluded hospital for the criminally insane? A storm which leads to the ultimate locked-room thriller? I’m literally drooling over here! Especially when it comes from one of my favourite thriller writers!

The Institution is a brilliantly tense, cleverly developed, satisfyingly grim and immensely exciting edge-of-your-seat thriller that is an easy five-star read for any serial killer fan.

We’ve met Dr Connie Woolwine before in The Shadow Man, although this isn’t classed as a sequel (I would be cautious if you haven’t read The Shadow Man, though, as this book does give away some of the details of the killer). And like most of Field’s books, there are more great connections to some of her other books, and I loved seeing other characters get a mention.

I loved meeting Connie the first time around, so it was amazing to have her back, taking the lead. As a forensic profiler, it’s always fascinating to have a character who can get inside a killer’s head, and she has many killers to get inside the heads of here.

With focused chapters on each “guest” of this high-security prison hospital, the format of this book is brilliant as it gives Fields the opportunity to tell stories inside a story, allowing us to get to know these killers as part of Connie’s main investigation. It reads like a Netflix documentary, picking apart the evil minds of these ruthless serial killers so that we can question whether they are a threat to her safety or, potentially, her defence when things go wrong.

I loved so much about this book, from the setting to the atmosphere, to the characters and the unpredictability of everything going on. It had everything I wanted from it, and I can’t recommend it enough!


The Institution by Helen Fields
Release Date: 2nd March 2023
Print Length: 432 pages
Genre: Crime Thriller
Publisher: Avon


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