Source: Review copy
Publication: 14th March 2020 in e-book and audiobook from One More Chapter
The serial killer is behind bars. But the murders are just beginning…
DC Maggie Jamieson’s past comes back to haunt her in this dark and gripping serial killer thriller.
Three missing women running out of time…
They were abducted years ago. Notorious serial killer Bill Raven admitted to killing them and was sentenced to life.
The case was closed – at least DC Maggie Jamieson thought it was…
But now one of them has been found, dismembered and dumped in a bin bag in town. Forensics reveal that she died just two days ago, when Raven was behind bars, so Maggie has a second killer to find.
Because even if the other missing women are still alive, one thing’s for certain: they don’t have long left to live…
I really enjoyed Noelle Holten’s first book, Dead Inside, so was very keen to read the follow up, Dead Wrong. Easily read as a stand-alone, Dead Wrong certainly does not disappoint.
DC Maggie Jamieson has recently come back to her Staffordshire Police following a secondment to the area’s Domestic Abuse & Homicide Unit, where she made some great friends and contacts and learned the benefits of a multi-agency approach to many of the crimes she has to deal with.
One of the strengths of Holten’s work is that she has adopted a portfolio approach to her writing. That gives her a wide cast of characters to draw from and means that she can focus on different characters at any given time and know that readers will already have met them and know something about them. In the first book, Lucy Sherwood from the Probation Service took centre stage, with Maggie Jamieson playing an important, supporting role.
This time it is D.C. Maggie Jamieson who is at the heart of the story, re-establishing herself in the C.I.D. Unit. Her feet are barely back under the table when she is faced with an enormous challenge. A murderer, Bill Raven, whose confession Maggie had elicited, leading to a lifetime jail sentence, has now recanted and worse – one of the bodies he is supposed to have been responsible for murdering has turned up dismembered and dumped in a bin. It is clear that not only is this murder recent, within the last few days, but Raven was locked up at the time.
Maggie’s professional reputation looks to be in tatters and the Criminal Case Review Board and Professional Standards want to know whether she coerced his confession. Raven is a creepy, tricky character, full of cunning and ready to taunt Maggie at every turn and the press are only too keen to hang her out to dry.
Now the team have to find out who killed this woman and the other murdered women who follow, whilst trying to work out whether they have falsely accused Raven of these crimes. Raven’s appeal will be heard before too long and Maggie is aghast at the thought that this man, whom she is certain is a murderer, could be back on the streets within a month.
Maggie’s boss, D.I. Rutherford tries to keep Maggie at arm’s length from Raven, knowing that her professional career is in jeopardy. Maggie though will not be deflected from her certainty that Raven is guilty.
Working with her former partner, Nathan Wright recently promoted to acting DS, and involving Psychotherapist Dr Kate Moloney as a profiler, she sets out to prove she is not wrong.
Holten does not shirk from the grislier aspects of dealing with a nasty murder case. Here the menace is apparent and the danger creates a tense and fraught atmosphere as the appeal looms nearer and the team seem to be no closer to finding out what has happened.
Alongside the investigation, another creepy and unpleasant set of happenings is occurring. Whether or not they are related to the Raven case is unclear, but this leads to a growing feeling of unease and a very unsettling feeling to the whole investigation.
Short chapters add pace to an already fast moving plot and Holten’s eye for detail shows that she knows her onions when it comes to a police procedural.
Verdict: A tense and thrilling police procedural from a writer whose knowledge of the criminal justice system shines through. Unsettling and disturbing this has a particularly delicious villain and the plot is full of surprises and one enormous shock. Highly recommended.
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, attending as many book festivals as she can afford and sharing the booklove via her blog.