Source: Review copy
Publication: 11 May 2023 from Harper Collins
My thanks to Harper Collins for an advance copy for review
The countdown has begun. Who will die next?
A shocking crime scene…
DCI Adam Bishop has never seen anything like it. Five murder victims – all with numbers written above. And the spray-painted daubs reveal a horrific truth: the killer is counting down…
A case that twists and turns…
When Dr Romilly Cole learns of the murders, they trigger memories of a traumatic past she has tried hard to forget. But getting involved with the case is a bad idea. She and Bishop have history – and working together could never end well.
A race against time to stop a killer…
Adam and Romilly soon realise the truth lies in a decades-old case, and only Romilly holds the key. But they must act quickly, because with every passing day, there are more victims. And as the numbers edge toward zero, the murders get closer to home…
I’ve never really understood why I enjoy a really good serial killer book, but this is one and I loved it. From the outset the pace and tone is set with a gruesome, bloody crime scene which leaves you in no doubt that this is a killer with serious issues.
Following on from her successful novel, The Echo Man, this book can very easily be read as a stand-alone.
A grotesque crime scene awaits D.C.I. Adam Bishop and DS Jamie Hoxton as they are pulled away from a rare night off to a dark and violent crime scene. The killer has spray painted a Roman numeral above the victim and just as the pair fear, this proves to lead to a number of other murder victims. We’re looking at a macabre countdown, and the main question is whether Jones and Hoxton can catch this killer before the final victims are revealed?
Holland’s short, sharp chapters punctuate the urgency that this gives to the plot. Told from multiple perspectives, the plot is interspersed with chilling chapters told in the voice of the serial killer – a clearly angry and unhinged individual whose motivation provides the key to detecting this killer, if only our detectives can discern it.
Dr. Romilly Cole was once married to Adam Bishop and she believes she recognises some traits from these current killings. Does she hold the key to finding our murderer?
Holland’s characterisation is very good and her willingness to dispose of her characters helps to make this a surprising and tense read as we have to discard our suppositions and find that the plot is much more twisted than we at first envisaged. News cuttings, autopsy and psychiatric reports all help to embed the reader in the heart of the story.
Verdict: A brilliantly fast paced and very chilling serial killer thriller that is so propulsive it will have your heart pounding and leave your mouth dry and gaping.
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Having always been fascinated with the dark and macabre, Sam Holland studied psychology at university then spent the next few years working in HR, before quitting for a full-time career in writing. A self-confessed serial killer nerd, her debut novel, The Echo Man, shocked and enthralled readers and reviewers alike with its sinister depiction of a serial killer copying notorious real-life murderers of the past. The Twenty is her second novel.