‘Hugely confident … harrowing, visceral … recommended’ Ian Rankin
‘Kept me hooked’ Angela Marsons
‘An excellent read’ Martina Cole
‘Gritty, dark and chilling’ Mel Sherratt
A dark and gripping debut crime novel – the first in a stunning series – from a huge new talent.
The killer is just getting started…
When three wife beaters are themselves found beaten to death, DC Maggie Jamieson knows she is facing her toughest case yet.
The police suspect that Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood – who is connected to all three victims – is hiding a dark secret. Then a fourth domestic abuser is brutally murdered.
And he is Lucy’s husband.
Now the police are running out of time, but can Maggie really believe her friend Lucy is a cold-blooded killer?
I would like to thank the author, publisher and blog tour organiser for the ARC in return for an honest review.
What can I say about Dead Inside, other than it is a superb debut from book blogger and publicist Noelle Holton. Well now, she can add author to that list with a capital A.
The book is dark and gripping, full of oodles of tension, virtually impossible to put down once you start reading. I suppose it is a cliché to say a thriller is addictive and electrifying, but frankly it is true, especially with this page turner.
Much of this is because of the subject matter dark and full of violence, but without a dam good storyline, a thriller would fall flat. No worries in this case, I was both thrilled, shocked and full of dread. Not at the fate of the victims, Holten in a superb masterstroke make them so despicable that I actually felt their deaths were deserved. I know that sounds bad, but she made me hate them enough to feel dread, not for them but for Lucy, someone I liked straight away, who I didn’t want to end being guilty of such cold blooded deaths. She was the underdog that gave this thriller the human connection, the person you invest your hopes in. What made it so compelling, was the feeling it created in me, a need to know that I had not misjudged her, though I will leave it to you to discover if I had or not. I loved the way she was made to feel fearful not just for herself, but for others, it made me admire her bravery and her latent strength.
The pacing is strong, the writer balancing furious moments of violence, with quiet flashes of anxiety inducing normality, that are almost worse, because you’re waiting for the next moment of dread. In this way she keeps you on the edge of your seat, unable to get all comfy, to fidgety to take your eyes of the story as it unfolds.
A book that involves domestic abuse is a delicate balancing act, especially in a thriller, where the story can sometimes be overwhelmed by relentless thrill seeking. But Noelle Holten not only writes a first class thriller, she gives those characters affected by the abuse, a voice and never allows their actions to be lost in the story. She makes us understand them as people and not just victims. She paints their attackers are controlling and violent and explores their reactions to the coercive and threatening relationships that wreck their lives. The grittiness comes from the way the story doesn’t paint them as passive victims, they are much more complex than that, angry, venerable and chaotic. These are real damaged individual and that what gives this thriller both its emotional complexity and what makes you feel so conflicted. Like me, you may not agree with violence, but Noel Holton, will make you understand why someone is killing these men and why part of you almost wishes the killer is not brought to justice.
A superb read. I look forward to book two.
About the author