Dead Inside by Noelle Holten
16th September 2020. 3 stars.
The subject of domestic abuse can’t be an easy one to tackle, so full marks to the author for depicting the suffering women can endure at the hands of their partners. Getting inside the heads of the abusers must have been a challenge. Their thoughts, attitudes and behaviours were certainly chilling and abhorrent at times.
The effect of being trapped in a violent and loveless marriage was shown through the eyes of probation officer, Lucy, who suffered to protect her adopted daughter. This was her story in the main, though she was one of several women who suffered violent abuse.
This made me wonder why the publishers were promoting this story as a serial killer thriller, with DC Maggie Jamieson as the main investigating officer. This suggests a police procedural, especially when three male abusers are murdered. But the police investigation into their deaths lacked depth and detail, and felt more like a subplot in comparison to the lives and traumas of the main female characters.
I would have preferred the focus to remain on Lucy and her conflicts and challenges, showing the police investigation from her perspective, leading to a more balanced and incisive story.
When three wife beaters are themselves found beaten to death, DC Maggie Jamieson knows she is facing her toughest case yet.
The police suspect that Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood – who is connected to all three victims – is hiding a dark secret. Then a fourth domestic abuser is brutally murdered.
And he is Lucy’s husband.
Now the police are running out of time, but can Maggie really believe her friend Lucy is a cold-blooded killer?
Tags: Crime fiction