Today I’m delighted to share my thoughts on book four in the Maggie Jamieson series by Noelle Holten, Dead Secret. My thanks to publisher One More Chapter for the advance review copy adn to Sarah Hardy of Book On The Bright Side Publicity for the tour invite. Here’s what it’s all about:
About the Book
Psychopaths can take root in the unlikeliest soil…
DC Maggie Jamieson crosses paths once again with Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood when a domestic violence survivor stumbles into her new refuge, unable to speak, desperate for help.
Then another case hits Maggie’s desk. A young man has been murdered, and a curious constellation of black dots has been inked onto his cheek.
That’s when DCI Hastings goes missing and Maggie uncovers a shocking connection that turns the case on its head.
Every family may hide secrets, but not every family buries them…
If you haven’t at the very least read book three in the series, Dead Perfect, then I would suggest you take a step back and read that as this book picks up exactly where the last book left off. Then again, due to the interconnected nature of these stories, you may want to read book one as well, as the vast majority of characters that we meet were there in book one, and their stories and past are part key to what happens in Dead Secret. It’s not essential, but I think you’d get more out of the story if you do. And you may as well read book two then, because it would be rude not to …
In Dead Secret, Maggie, and the team in Major Crime team at Staffordshire Police, are faced with a series of disturbing murders which see the case take a very personal turn. Alongside this, Lucy Sherwood has her very first client at her women’s refuge, a young women who is very badly hurt but also very evasive about her past. Two, soon to be three very perplexing mysteries which will keep you guessing throughout.
I must admit, I never trust evasive people in fiction, and Ronnie, the young woman who turns up at Lucy’s refuge, is as evasive as they come. But is she hiding from someone, or from herself? She is a very complex character, but. difficult to get to know, the author playing on the idea that she is keeping secrets, as the title of the book suggests, but taking her time in slowly revealing them to the reader. Nervous, on edge – all classic hallmarks of an abuse victim, but how do you help someone who won’t tell you what they are scared of? It was nice being back in the company of Lucy in this book, and her personal experience plays well to this element of the story. Sadly, discovering more about her mysterious new client will not be easy, with her former police colleagues otherwise distracted by their various cases. The mystery adds tension and also informs the pacing of the story, distracting readers at just the crucial times.
In terms of Maggie’s cases, not only is she investigating a brutal murder in which the victim is left with ritualistic seeming marks on their body, the team is faced with the disappearance of one of their own and this becomes an increasingly urgent case, resulting in an increasingly pressured situation for the whole team. Despite having great instincts and being a determined investigator, Maggie is a character who is prone to emotional outbursts and frustration, and this time around it is not just the complex investigations that are getting to her. There is the added complication of her growing relationship, however it can be characterised, with reporter, Julie Noble. They wind each other up, Noble knowing exactly how to press Maggie’s buttons, but there is a definite chemistry there, even if Maggie is too cautious and doubting to give into it.
Dead Secret is a clever and complex mystery that keep readers on their toes, casting doubt over many a character in turn. There were parts to the story that I had kind of guessed, largely because I am an untrusting soul, but there are many twists and turns in the book and parts of the story really do cause you to question what is happening and who is guilty. The characters are as sharp and well rounded as ever, and really pull you into the story, their relationships and character flaws as engrossing as the murder investigation. The pace is fast, the tension rising and falling as the story needs, and all powering readers to a very unexpected and emotional finale.
And yes … it will leave you wanting more. I’m coming to think that Noelle is becoming the queen of the cliffhanger ending, as what you read will leave you reeling and desperate to get hold of book five.
About the Author
Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at http://www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and was a regular reviewer on the Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast. Noelle worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of cases including those involving serious domestic abuse. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle’s hobbies include reading, author-stalking and sharing the book love via her blog.
Dead Inside is her debut novel with One More Chapter/Harper Collins UK and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.
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