Today it’s my great pleasure to be taking part in the blog tour for My Little Eye, the new book from author Stephanie Marland (aka blogger Crime Thriller Girl). I’ve had this book in my TBR pile since last summer and it’s been gradually creeping ever closer to the top so it’s been a pleasure finally turning the first page. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the book with you in just a moment, as soon as we’ve seen what it’s all about.
About the Book
Can a group of true crime addicts take on the police to catch a serial killer?
A young woman is found dead in her bedroom surrounded by rose petals – the latest victim of ‘The Lover’. Struggling under the weight of an internal investigation, DI Dominic Bell is no closer to discovering the identity of the killer and time is running out.
As the murders escalate, Clementine Starke joins an online true crime group determined to take justice in to their own hands – to catch the killer before the police. Hiding a dark secret, she takes greater risks to find new evidence and infiltrate the group.
As Starke and Bell get closer to cracking the case neither of them realise they’re being watched. The killer is closer to them than they think, and he has his next victim – Clementine – firmly in his sights.
I have loved Stephanie Marland’s work under her other ‘identity’ – Steph Broadribb – and so when I heard that she was releasing a new series with Trapeze I was really excited to read it. From the very beginning of this book I could tell this was going to be something really special and the further I got into the story, the more certain, and engrossed, I became.
My Little Eye introduces us to two new and very different characters – Clementine Starke and Dominic Bell. Clementine is a young woman, very much removed from the official world of police investigation who has been studying true crime enthusiasts as part of her university thesis. When someone in one of her forums elects to set up a group to investigate a series of gruesome murders, she knows she has to be a part of this world, if only to prove her own hypothesis, that is it possible for the public to solve a crime before the police. Dom is very much on the other side of the law – allegedly the right side – working for the police and leading the search for ‘The Lover’ as the killer has been named by the media. But just which group will find their man – or woman – first? True Crime London or the Police?
This was such a fascinating read and in Clementine and Dom Stephanie Marland has created two very likeable and enduring characters. Clementine, or Clem, is a damaged character, a girl who technically died as a child, and since that time she has struggled to connect with others, hiding herself away. For her, the internet and the true crime chat rooms are her contact with a world she would rather otherwise avoid. She is tenacious and determined, if only to prove her theories right, but she will stop at nothing to ingratiate herself with the leader of True Crime London, a person going by the handle of Death Stalker.
Dominic Bell – Dom – is a man under pressure. He too is damaged, this time from a prior investigation which took a dark turn and which has had its own repercussions for his health, his personal life and potentially his career. He comes across as being quite angry and yet there is something about him, again perhaps his determination, which draws the reader to him and makes you want to see him succeed. He is almost the opposite of Clem, she is a very straight talking character, not prone to emotion, where he appears more emotionally driven, partly through pain, partly through frustration, but as soon as they meet you can sense a kind of chemistry between the pair of them and it will be fascinating to see where this leads.
The pacing in this book is spot on and the anticipation which precedes the murders keeps the reader on the end of the seat. Nothing in the book is over done, the violence kept mostly off the page, even though the exact nature of each kill is clearly spelt out to the reader. You can feel the horror without having to watch it unfold and can feel the apprehension build as the killer makes their play. There is a certain amount of darkness threaded throughout the novel, but nothing overwhelming, and it is fascinating watching the story unfurl. The unique angle of watching a group of true crime geeks trying to solve the murder certainly adds an edge to the story, and ups the number of potential suspects no end. After all, the level of obsession displayed by these folk certainly makes you wonder, and more than one or two of them will make your skin crawl as their enthusiasm is played out on the page.
I loved the premise of this novel and in some ways having citizen investigators makes the narrative and the progression of the story far more fluid. They are not bound by the bureaucracy of the police, even if their resources are also not quite so far reaching. The story itself is told from two perspectives – first person narrative with Clem which adds a kind of immediacy and also a sense of jeopardy to her story – and third person as we follow Dom and his investigations. The two blend perfectly as the story moves back and forth, something which doesn’t always work so hats off to the author for pulling it off.
Everything about the book had me wanting to keep turning the page and I was more than a little bleary eyed from not wanting to put it down. I can’t wait to see what is next for this pairing. A brilliant start to the series.
My thanks to publishers Trapeze for providing an advance copy of the book for review. My Little Eye is available now from the following retailers:
About the Author
Stephanie Marland has worked in the University sector for over ten years and published research on how people interact and learn together in virtual environments online. She’s an alumni of the MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) at City University London, and an avid reader of all things crime fiction, blogging about books at http://www.crimethrillergirl.com. Steph also writes the Lori Anderson action thriller series (as Steph Broadribb) for Orenda Books.
Follow the tour including today’s tour buddy CrimeBookJunkie