Sometimes a follow-up novel by an author whose debut you enjoyed can be a disappointment, the literary equivalent of the second album syndrome.

But there’s no need to worry on that score with Oxford writer Cara Hunter’s latest offering, which is published today.

Her first crime novel, Close To Home, was picked for the Richard and Judy Book Club and her second, In The Dark, is a worthy successor.

It’s the second outing for the well-drawn DI Adam Fawley and his team and the book continues Hunter’s style of mixing news reports and Twitter reaction in with the story.

But In The Dark has even more twists than its gripping predecessor – which dealt with the disappearance of a young girl during a firework party at her home – and an even darker storyline.

A woman and child are found, barely alive, locked in a North Oxford basement.

The traumatised mother can’t speak and there are no missing person reports that match their profile.

The elderly owner of the dilapidated house appears to be suffering from dementia and claims he has never seen them before.

Then a body is discovered...

The crime thriller keeps you guessing until the end and there’s also pleasure to be gained recognising familiar Oxford locations and types of resident.

In fact, in her acknowledgements Hunter says: “I couldn’t have written this book without drawing on the special ‘genius of the place’ of Oxford. It’s an endlessly inspiring and surprising town, and I’m very lucky to live there.”

Her third DI Fawley thriller is set during the Christmas holidays when two children are pulled out of a burning house in the city. Their mother is missing and their father is not answering his phone.

It’s due out in January and I’m looking forward to it already.

In The Dark by Cara Hunter, published by Penguin, £7.99 paperback