It is my honour to be one of today’s stops on the blog tour for The Serial Killer’s Daughter by Lesley Welsh who sadly passed away earlier this year. My thanks to Kim Nash for asking me to take part in the tour and to Lesley’s family for sharing this book with us all. I’ll be posting my review in just a moment, but first off, here is what this book is all about.
The Official Book Blurb
Charmer, liar, father… Killer.
Suzanne’s life changes forever the day she receives a visit from Rose Anderson, the woman who has been living with her estranged father, Don.
Don is dead, but Rose wants Suzanne to have his possessions – including a series of intimate diaries and a mysterious collection of photographs of women.
To Suzanne’s shock, one of the photos is of her friend Sophie, who died ten years ago in an unexplained and devastating fire.
But Don only met Sophie once, on an unsettling visit he paid Suzanne just days before Sophie’s death… So why did he have a picture of her?
Unable to let Sophie’s memory alone, Suzanne begins to dig into her father’s life. What horrors is she about to unearth in his journals? And who is it that’s out there, watching her every move?
When I first saw that Bookouture were to publish The Serial Killer’s Daughter I must admit that I was immediately intrigued and it went straight onto my pre-order list. The premise just sounded really interesting, the title intimating there was more to see than the blurb would suggest. And I am very glad that I did as this book was good. Really, really good.
From the very off we are drawn into a dark and murky world, into the thoughts of someone who has seemingly little compassion and who treats women who frequent a travelling circus as though they were merely there for their personal amusement. But just who this person is and how they, and this passage, fit into the story isn’t immediately clear. But it does set the tone and underpins the whole theme of the novel perfectly.
Then we meet Suzanne. Teacher and wife she is anything but satisfied with her life but it is the one she has chosen after being devastated by the loss of her friend Sophie many years before. Not everything that led from the fire was bad – it is how she met her husband – but it is not what she had wanted for herself. When Rose enters the picture, bringing with her memories of the father Suzanne would rather forget she soon comes to regret wanting a little more excitement in her life. I won’t say any more about the plot other than from reading her father’s diaries Suzanne embarks on what becomes quite the journey of discovery, one which will irreparably alter everything she has ever known.
This is a very well crafted novel, varying in pace between high stakes drama and a slightly more staid look into the past. There are so many twisted secrets to be unearthed and characters who will both engage and appall you. Some of the scenes can be hard to read and the language quite hard and unforgiving. But then, as the title suggests, we are not talking about people taking high tea in a rose garden. It is only natural that we should be shocked and even disgusted by the characters we meet in the book, and believe me when I say that there is more than one person here who will make your skin crawl. There is also an almost sinister tension throughout the first half of the book as we know that first Rose and then Suzanne is being watched, but we don’t know by who or why.
There are scenes in the book that, while not necessarily graphic in detail, are definitely more so in language and there is no doubt as to what has occurred. Some elements will shock and surprise you for sure. I can’t say that I found any of the characters particularly easy to warm to but I did feel for Rose, for the confused and paranoid state she had worked herself into courtesy of Don’s manipulations. Suzanne in particular I wasn’t sure about at first, but her strength and tenacity grew on me and the way in which Lesley Welsh slowly developed the character was very effective. She moved from being someone who appeared to merely moan about her lot to a woman who took control in the most dire of circumstances and I couldn’t help but respect her for it. But it was her mother, Joan, who I liked the most. She had an understated strength which radiated from the page. A great character in my eyes.
If you like a twisted thriller full of long buried secrets and startling revelations then I would definitely recommend giving this book a whirl. It certainly drew me in and the more I read, the wider my eyes became. The audacity of some people knows no bounds and Don is the character who truly took the biscuit.
My thanks to publishers Bookouture and Netgalley for the advance review copy of The Serial Killers Daughter. It has been published with the kind permission of Lesley’s family and is available now from the following retailers.
About the Author
Lesley Welsh sadly passed away in April this year.
Lesley was born in Strawberry Field children’s home and raised on a notorious council estate in Liverpool. Later she moved to London where she studied English and Drama and worked as a freelance writer specialising in alternative lifestyles. Her articles appeared in Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Red, Bite, Time Out and many others before she established Moondance Media, a magazine publishing company. Her dark and compelling short story Mrs Webster’s Obsession was turned into a film.
Lesley moved to Spain and sadly passed away in April.
Please do check out some of the other fantastic blogs taking part in the tour.