Review – ‘Vigilante’ – Jessica Daniel Book 2 by Kerry Wilkinson (@kerrywk, @bookouture)

Ahead of the publication in the US of ‘Think of the Children‘, the fourth book in the Jessica Daniel series, my next catch up post is a mini review of book two, ‘Vigilante‘.


The Official Book Blurb

A killer behind bars is still killing…

When the body of a man is discovered with multiple stab wounds, Detective Jessica Daniel thinks it could be another drug-related murder. But then two more victims are found with similar markings. Each of the men were hardened criminals but is that the only link?  
As Jessica is drawn into her most difficult case yet, dead bodies continue to pile up and the media go to town with headlines of a ‘Vigilante’ on the streets.
Then forensics match blood from the killer to a man already behind bars: Donald McKenna. Serving life in prison, Donald is a dangerous individual with the perfect alibi. But Jessica is sure he’s lying – and that he’s not the only one.
Can she catch a ruthless killer before he takes his next victim? And as Jessica inches nearer to the truth, can she protect those closest to her?

A man killed in the street with any number of potential perpetrators. He has a history of drug related offences, has served time in prison,  and yet seems too low level to have attracted the kind of attention which would lead to such a vicious attack. When more victims are found, they all seem to be linked by not only the prison in which they served their sentences but by a crucial piece of forensic evidence. Only the evidence cannot possibly be believed.

This is one twisted murder mystery, the killings quick but no less vicious or grizzly, the victims flawed but no more deserving of their fate. As the victims pile up, we hear the thoughts of the killer who clearly has some kind of vigilante complex, a desire to seek vengeance against people they feel have not paid their dues. It is a case that bugs Jessica, determined to prove the impossible and yet wanting to find a plausible alternative.

Her personal life is still full of drama. Although there is a hint of romance, Jessica puts her job first and this could cost her everything. It has already put strain on friendships. It has been all change above her too and the new DCI is somewhat of an acquired taste. His approach towards the victims is less tolerant than he perhaps should be, making Jessica very wary of him.

The characters in this book are spot on. The relationship between Jessica and Dave Rowlands continues to amuse, as does her banter with journalist Garry Ashford. And as for forensic tech Adam’s grandmother – well she’s a real laugh. With the freedom of being able to say exactly what she is thinking she is a breath of fresh air in Jessica’s pressured life and certainly made me smile. In no way politically correct but all the more fun for it.

There are several misleading trails throughout the book which keep the reader guessing and while I wasn’t entirely surprised by the one big reveal about DC Carrie Jones, it still wasn’t entirely clear if the people involved had more to hide than they were letting on. The identity of the killer is well hidden until the end and while the pacing of the book is slower, it picks up as Jessica and the team hone in on them. It was certainly a gripping read that held my attention from first page to last.

A twisted and justice-seeking 5 stars.


My thanks to Net Galley and Bookouture for the copy of ‘Vigilante’ which is available to purchase from at the following link:


Think of the Children‘ the fourth Jessica Daniel book is being published in the US by Bookouture and is released on 26th January.

The Official Book Blurb

One boy is dead. A killer is free. Who is next?

Detective Sergeant Jessica Daniel is first on the scene as a stolen car crashes on a misty, wet Manchester morning. The driver is dead, but the biggest shock awaits her when she discovers the body of a child wrapped in plastic in the boot of the car.

As Jessica struggles to discover the identity of the driver, a thin trail leads her first to a set of clothes buried in the woods and then to a list of children’s names abandoned in an allotment shed.

With the winter chill setting in and parents looking for answers, Jessica must find out who has been watching local children, and how this connects to a case that has been unsolved for 14 years.

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