Today it’s my pleasure to be taking part in the blog tour for the new release from Stephen Edger, Dead to Me, the first book in the Kate Matthews series. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the book in just a moment after I’ve shared with you all what the book is about.
The Official Book Blurb
How do you catch a killer who knows your every move?
The woman lay flat on the table, her face to one side, her wrists bound with thick tape. Deep scratches marked the wood beneath her fingers, now resting cold and still…
When a woman’s body is found in an abandoned bar near the Southampton docks, Detective Kate Matthews is called in to lead the investigation. She must solve this case to prove she is coping with the death of a close colleague.
Kate knows a pile of ripped up newspaper cuttings discovered at the victim’s house must be a piece of the puzzle, but her team keep hitting dead-ends… Until she finds a disturbing clue that convinces her of three things: The murder is linked to the body of a man found hanging in a warehouse, she is on the hunt for a calculated serial killer, and the killer is watching her every move.
Kate realises there will be another victim soon, and that her own life is in grave danger, but no one else believes her theory. Can she find and stop the most twisted killer of her career, before another life is lost?
An absolutely NAIL-BITING thriller that will keep you guessing to the very last page. Perfect for fans of Robert Dugoni, James Patterson and MJ Arlidge.
Having transferred to Southampton from the Met Police under something of a cloud, and struggling to secure a successful conviction in her new team, Kate Matthews has everything to prove to those around her about just how capable she is. She is initially faced with a case that has all the hallmarks of being gang related before being handed the mysterious case of Barrister who has been found murdered under very disturbing circumstances. As if things at work aren’t tricky enough, Kate is faced with having to look after her estranged daughter when her ex’s new partner is taken ill and also having to deal with a stalker who seems intent on steering her investigation down a particularly dark path.
From the very beginning you get the sense of Kate being a woman under pressure, not just from her job but from her home life and also from her new found cyber-stalker. Thrown into a stomach churning murder where the victim has not only been burned beyond recognition but the body also mutilated, she is under close scrutiny and has a desperate need to secure a result. From the opening scene, the tension and pressure begins to build and it doesn’t let up until the very last page. Kate’s reputation and career are on the line as is the safety of her family.
Speaking of family, her circumstances are definitely not ideal for someone who has to take on a major investigation. Taking on a six year old she barely knows, and trying to juggle the need to visit her ailing mother, Kate has more than enough on her plate. Add to that someone who keeps breaking into her apartment and leaving her little clues, threats almost, about her current investigation and it is no wonder she comes across as a woman on the edge. She is definitely a woman more at home in her job than she is in being a mother, but then her struggles are something that most single parents can probably recognise. She does come across as selfish at times, neglecting her daughter for the job, but then she is not used to this new responsibility. With such a significant life change, I can understand the errors in judgement she makes. That said, the scenes with her daughter also serve to demonstrate her humanity and helped to make me warm to her quite a bit.
Despite some rather gruesome deaths, the book does not come across as gratuitous in any way. There are three murders being investigated, seemingly unconnected and as different a can be in terms of M.O. However, and to be fair it was with the help of a certain creepy stalker who is threatening Kate, she is the only one to see the similarities between the cases. At one stage side lined from the investigation she takes on the killer on her own terms, and this is perhaps where I struggled just a little. Kate has a history, the reason she left the Met, which would suggest she’d by instinct want to be more of a team player and yet she goes it alone with the kind of results you could anticipate.
What I didn’t anticipate was the who and Stephen Edger has done a great job of hiding the killer in not quite plain sight throughout. There is an element of misdirection within the book, and several people who do come across as suspect. As to which one of them is the actual killer… You’ll have to read for yourself now won’t you? With some of the scenes fold from the killer’s perspective, Edger does a great job of creating a kind of ‘ticking clock’ type of scenario; you get the clear sense that the killer is working to an agenda, with a finite timeline that he is pushing Kate hard to achieve. Plus there is a real high tension, high stakes ending which will keep you on the edge of your seat waiting to see just how much Kate is willing to sacrifice to catch a killer.
Characterisations were great. Alongside Kate you have her neighbour and possibly only friend, Trisha, who although not used much did add an element of fun to Kate’s otherwise serious life. Then you have Kate’s team and her colleagues, DI’s Underhill and Hendrix. Now I won’t lie – both Hendrix and Underhill came across as complete tools and I have no affinity for either character. In terms of Kate’s immediate team, DS Patel was someone I was never quite sure about, somewhat too aloof at times to be entirely trusted. Laura was perhaps the only one of the other Detectives you could warm to. She was keen, supportive of Kate and not afraid to challenge. She is a character I am keen to see developed. And then there is Ben, the pathologist. Bless him. He seems like a really nice chap, keen on getting to know Kate just a little better. But then does he have an ulterior motive… ?
I’m always a little excited, and perhaps also apprehensive, when Bookouture announce the start of a new police procedural series from an author I don’t know. Authors from the Bookouture stable have been responsible for producing some of my favourite ever series and protagonists and so expectations are always set very high. I am happy to say that Dead to Me has not only kept up with expectations but in Kate Matthews, Stephen Edger has created a protagonist who is tenacious, stubborn and above all else, extremely human. She is kind of spiky at times, and I wasn’t sure where her character was coming from at times. It is certainly clear that there is still a lot more to learn about Kate, but in just this first book, she has kind of grown on me and I can’t wait to see where the author takes this series next.
My thanks to publishers Bookouture for the advance copy of Dead to Me for review. It it available now from the following retailers.
About the Author
Stephen Edger is a British crime writer, who has been writing since 2010. In that time he has written and published eleven novels, and five short stories. He writes mysteries and thrillers focused on crime.
Stephen was born in the north-east of England, grew up in London, but has lived in Southampton since attending university in the year 2000. Stephen works in the financial industry, and uses his insider knowledge to create the plots of his books. He also has a law degree, which gives him a good understanding of the inner workings of the UK justice system.
Stephen is married, and has two children, and two dogs. He is passionate about reading and writing, and cites Simon Kernick and John Grisham as major influences on his writing style.
Make sure to check out the other brilliant blogs taking part in the tour.