Left For Dead by Caroline Mitchell

Today I’m delighted to share my thoughts on book three in the Amy Winter series by Caroline Mitchell, Left For Dead. My thanks go to publisher Thomas & Mercer and to Sarah Hardy of Book On The Bright Side Publicity for including me in the tour. Here’s what the book is all about:

Source: Netgalley

About the Book

A victim on display. A detective on the rails.

Shopping with her sister, DI Amy Winter is admiring a Valentine’s Day window display of a perfect bride encrusted in diamonds and resplendent in lace—until she notices blood oozing from the mannequin’s mouth.

This is no stunt. A post-mortem reveals the victim was left to die on her macabre throne for all to see. When a second victim is found, it emerges that both women were ‘Sugar Babes’ arranging dates with older men online—and Amy finds herself hunting an accomplished psychopath.

As she tracks down the killer, Amy’s instincts go into overdrive when the charismatic head of the agency behind the display makes no attempt to hide his fascination with her serial-killer parents. What exactly does he want from Amy? With her own world in freefall as her biological mother, Lillian Grimes, appeals her conviction, Amy pushes the boundaries of police procedure when a third ‘Sugar Babe’ disappears…Is she as much at risk as the killer’s victims?

Available from: Amazon | Waterstones

My Thoughts

Well if you are looking for a book full of tension that is also going to make your skin crawl, then this may well be the book for you. Left For Dead by Caroline Mitchell is that latest book in the DI Amy Winter series and sees Amy pitched against a killer who likes to satisfy his urges by murdering young women and leaving them on display in very public places. He creates a kind of work of art, far from grotesque, and yet still creating an exceedingly macabre tableau in which his victims are literally left to die.

We know from the very beginning of this book who the killer is, and Amy soon has a strong suspicion of who it may be too. These books really aren’t about discovering the who. It’s more about tracking the evidence, identifying the motive, and finding a way to stop the killer in their track, in this case meaning Amy needs to put herself well and truly in harm’s way in a tense and high impact showdown.

This was an intriguing investigation to follow, watching the team as they tried to find the link between the young victims. The killer’s methods are certainly unusual and the graphic way in which they display their handiwork to the world, particularly given the timing so close to Valentine’s Day, made me really interested into getting into the psychology of the killer and why they did what they did. What was it that drove them to kill and how could their family not realise what kind of person they were. Caroline Mitchell has created a really creepy and unnerving foe for Amy to battle this time around, the contrast of their outward charm against the sneering, contemptible evil that we know is hidden just beneath the surface. I love the way he toyed with Amy, looking for some kind of connection between them, playing on the inherent evil from her own family to chip away at her. For people living alone, I think that this book will have you double checking your locks at night and possibly considering investing in a new bed – just in case …

I really like the character of Amy Winter. She has a very complicated past, one which takes centre stage at times this time around too, as her mother, a convicted serial killer herself, is set to return to court to have an appeal heard. This adds a layer of tension to Amy’s already turbulent private life and also proves a point of fascination for the serial killer du jour. It was really fascinating watching this play out, wondering if the hold that Lillian Grimes has over her daughter would continue into the courtroom. Add in a kind of romantic twist as her former ‘almost’ lover is now her immediate Superior, and the scene is set for Amy to be pulled in all directions, adding conflict in an already fractious situation.

I raced through this book, loving the complicated and twisted ties between Amy and the Killer, and it is possibly my favourite in the series so far. If you love a Detective thriller with great characters and fast paced action that will keep you on edge, then pick this series up. Definitely worth starting at the beginning though. You’ll understand the complex relationship between Amy and her family so much better if you do.

About the Author

A former police detective, Caroline Mitchell now writes full-time.

She has worked in CID and specialised in roles dealing with vulnerable victims—high-risk victims of domestic abuse and serious sexual offences. The mental strength shown by the victims of these crimes is a constant source of inspiration to her, and Mitchell combines their tenacity with her knowledge of police procedure to create tense psychological thrillers.

Originally from Ireland, she now lives in a pretty village on the coast of Essex with her husband and three children.

Author Links: Twitter | Website

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