Many thanks to the author, Matt Brolly, and publisher, Amazon Publishing UK, for providing a digital ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
In a small town full of secrets, everyone’s a suspect.
When a body is discovered, bled dry on a beach, the sleepy seaside town of Weston-super-Mare wakes up to a nightmare. For Detective Inspector Louise Blackwell, recently transferred to the town she last saw as a child, it’s her first case on the job.
The victim—Veronica Lloyd, an elderly volunteer at a local church—has puncture wounds to her hands. When a priest is found killed in a nearby church in a similarly grisly condition, it becomes clear that Blackwell is dealing with a righteous and bloody murderer. But the victims aren’t random. The killer has a vendetta and is hell-bent on exacting twisted revenge for a dark secret dating back years—and there are more murders planned.
As the body count rises, Blackwell faces a race against time to solve the mystery of the murderer’s identity and put an end to the carnage. She thought she knew Weston, but the town holds more secrets than she’d ever have imagined. Who can she trust and who knows more than they are letting on?
She must discover the crimes that unite the victims—before it’s too late.From Goodreads
This book is a great read, starting high action with Louise and Finch’s last case together then diving the reader straight into an intense investigation years later. While the primary plot centers around the multiple homicides, there’s an underlying subplot of harassment and intimidation when the reader learns Louise has been receiving texts from an unknown number. The first half of the book has good build up and background context, though there were moments of boredom – mostly around Louise brooding. The second half of the book was full of action and incredibly difficult to put down without reading straight through.
The only place where this book was a bit of a let down was character dimensionality. While I found Louise very likeable and despised Finch, most of the other characters I felt pretty neutral about. The ones I did care for seemed a little one-dimensional. Information given about the killer’s background didn’t provide solid foundation for his actions in my opinion, and while I thought him fascinating I didn’t form much emotional connection / sympathy for Geoff despite his background. It also bugs me that we never quite learn why Finch acts the way he does except to attribute it to a severe personality flaw.
These points were, however, outweighed by the highlights and I really enjoyed the book for what it was – a solid suspenseful crime mystery/thriller. The ending was fast paced and sucked me in, securing an extra 0.5 star reflected in the rating I’m giving. I’d recommend this to anyone looking for a ‘cozy’ small town killer crime book that’s a straightforward, easy read.