Well I can tell you straight out, this is a cracking read, by far the best crime thriller I’ve read so far this year. There’s so much going on, different POVs and a never ending supply of action and twists.
The prologue lets us in on Lucy’s darkest secret – her troubled marriage. We’re introduced to Patrick; Lucy’s husband, and discover his aggression, his anger and his utter disrespect for women. He has to be one of the most disturbing and terrifying characters I’ve ever read about, his poisonous thoughts are felt throughout the book, to the point that I was nervous of what I’d read when a chapter was from his perspective. Holten did an excellent job of bringing this damaged relationship to life through the pages, as my sympathy towards Lucy was instant and I felt her fear every time she had to be in Patrick’s presence, actually I more than felt it, it was as if I was living through it too.
Aside from Lucy’s home life, her work life is causing her never ending headaches, as a probation officer, she’s dealing with some of the worst kinds of people – domestic abusers, rapists, aggressive alcoholics… the irony was not lost on me, that she had to deal with this both in work and at home.
Meanwhile the story is also unfolding the activities of the DAHU team (Domestic Abuse & Homicide Unit), where DC Maggie Jameson is just starting her new role. The call has come in for a rather gruesome murder.
When Lucy’s next appointment fails to show up she has no idea that his reason is… because he’s dead, and so the two storylines begin to weave themselves closer and closer together.
Patrick’s frequency in the local pub introduces numerous other characters, including Shell, who holds the power of destroying Patrick and Lucy’s marriage. Little does she know how much Lucy would love that, as she’s blindsided with Patrick’s cunning charm. I was nearly screaming at the book as Shell fell for Patrick’s tricks, with her damaging childhood, I thought she’d see past him. I loved how Holten masterfully brought in the theme of “you’ve been through this before, why aren’t you learning to stay away”, this was used in numerous situations and very subtly reminded the reader of how attention and love plays havoc on seeing the truth.
With another murder fitting the M.O., the pressure on the team is mounting. Why is the killer targeting domestic abuse offenders? Is it a vigilante? Is it another domestic abuser controlling the area? In this small town, everyone’s paths cross, so which connection will lead to the truth?
This book is a definite page-turner! The short chapters and swapping POVs means the story flies by, I was hooked throughout! The story is extremely well concocted to produce an insane build up to a turn of events that shook me to the core.
With the detail into Lucy’s home life, the insight into the probation team, the murder case and all the short glimpses into the other characters’ lives, you can tell there is a LOT going on in this story. It’s going to pull you away from whatever you’re doing and give you a good dose of suspense and shocks.
Dead Inside is out now in eBook versions from Killer Reads and will be out in paperback in August.
Want to know more about Dead Inside? There are plenty more blog posts to explore! Here’s a list:
Until next time, Chloé x
*GIFTED – I received a free copy of this book to allow me to collate this review post*