Today it is my pleasure to finally be sharing my thoughts on Dead Man’s Daughter by Roz Watkins. I’ve had this on my TBR for far too long and so took advantage of one of my many lockdown walks to listen to the audiobook instead. I’m really enjoying the Meg Dalton series and this was another cracking instalment. Here’s what it was all about:
About the Book
She was racing towards the gorge. The place the locals knew as ‘Dead Girl’s Drop’…Available from: Amazon | Kobo | Waterstones | Googleplay | Apple Books | Hive
DI Meg Dalton is thrown headlong into her latest case when she finds a ten-year-old girl running barefoot through the woods in a blood-soaked nightdress. In the house nearby, the girl’s father has been brutally stabbed to death.
At first Meg suspects a robbery gone tragically wrong, but something doesn’t add up. Why does the girl have no memory of what happened to her? And why has her behaviour changed so dramatically since her recent heart transplant?
The case takes a chilling turn when evidence points to the girl’s involvement in her own father’s murder. As unsettling family secrets emerge, Meg is forced to question her deepest beliefs to discover the shocking truth, before the killer strikes again…
Well … This is a book with rather a dramatic opening, something I’m, fast becoming used to with a Meg Dalton story to be honest. A young child seen running through woods on her own, covered in blood but not her own. Good morning Meg. It comes to something when finding the young girl’s father brutally murdered is one of the least unusual or disturbing things to happen in the story, but when it looks increasingly as though the young girl may have been responsible for her father’s death as well as a future attack on her step mother, then you know it is going to be far from a walk in the park for Meg and her colleagues.
I do like Meg as a character. She is far from your typical Police hero – not particularly dynamic or aggressive in nature, in fact she is almost apologetic at times. She is more than capable at her job and can hold her own even in the face of adversity, particularly then even as one of her colleagues, DS Craig Cooper, makes it an almost daily mission to make her life hell for taking the job he thought he deserved. She has a crush on her colleague, DS Jai Sanghera, her mother is planning to take her Grandmother to Switzerland for an assisted suicide, so if it was possible to have a more complicated personal life I’m not sure quite how. And yet this makes her overwhelmingly human and likeable, and often brings a smile to my face when I am reading (or listening). She cares deeply about her colleagues safety although her home situation is leaving her somewhat distracted at work at times. She is also up against it with this case as something is telling her that the young girl is innocent but the evidence is leading to increasing pressure to arrest her against Meg’s better judgement.
This is an intriguing case and it explores the whole idea of cellular memory, a subject I have read about in other books before. The whole idea that recipients of transplants take on the memories, likes and behaviours of their donors. This is a very interesting subject to discuss and adds that kind of otherworldly edge to the story that makes this series so enjoyable. I’m not sure I buy into the whole idea of cellular memory myself, but Roz Watkins explores the whole psychology of it and the impact on families as much as the recipient of the organs themselves. Because the young girl in this story has had a donor organ, as had her father before her, and reports of her ‘not being the same since’ do create that underlying question of what if? But when other people connected to the case are also found dead by apparent suicide, as a reader, much like Meg as a detective, you know instinctively that not everything adds up.
There are moments of great tension in the book. notably in the middle where Craig finds himself in a very precarious situation that puts his life on the line. He is a grade a pillock and there was a certain satisfaction in seeing what happens to him, but far from capitalising on his discomfort though, Meg uses it to try and call a truce. How effective that is in the long term remains to be seen … And then there is the ending, when the killer is finally unmasked. It is somewhat unexpected and yet also completely fitting, and you can see how all the clue were slowly building and leading to this up tempo showdown. There is an undercurrent of unease throughout the book to be fair, owing to the almost inexplicable and complex nature of the investigation plus the constant sense of threat against Meg herself, although it is not clear just where that threat is coming from. With the atmospheric and gloomy setting of the snow covered Derbyshire countryside, this was another cracking addition to the series and I can’t wait to get stuck into book three.
About the Author
Roz Watkins is the author of the DI Meg Dalton crime series, which is set in the Peak District where Roz lives with her partner and a menagerie of demanding animals.
Her first book, The Devil’s Dice, was shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger Award, and has been optioned for TV.
Roz studied engineering at Cambridge University before training in patent law. She was a partner in a firm of patent attorneys in Derby, but this has absolutely nothing to do with there being a dead one in her first novel.
In her spare time, Roz likes to walk in the Peak District, scouting out murder locations