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Monday 16 April 2018

‘Splinter in The Blood’ by Ashley Dyer

Published by Corsair,
1 March 2018.
ISBN: 978-1-4721-5101-8 (HB)

Sergeant Ruth Lake stands over her boss and long-standing friend, Detective Chief Inspector Greg Carver, who has been shot. She is holding a gun.

She clears the place of her fingerprints and removes his notes and files on the deaths of five women all tattooed with thorns. She then places everything in the boot of her car together with the gun. She re-enters his place and calls the paramedics. Carver is taken to hospital, he briefly comes to but is unable to talk.

Ruth reads through Carver's notes, as the killings went on the tattoos became more and more sophisticated. The last victim, Kara Crogan seemed to have been chosen because she looked like Carver's estranged wife Emma.  Was the killer trying to prove something to Carver?

The forensic adviser to the police tells them that tattoos done with thorns are very painful, it seems the killer kept the women alive for weeks. Their whole bodies were covered with the tattoos, they must have been in agony.

Carver slowly remembers bits and pieces and starts to talk but has no idea who shot him.
Then another woman by the name of Adela is found dead, but this time there are no tattoos. Apparently, Carver had been having an affair with her, could he have killed her? They were certainly heard having a row in the hotel room the same night as when she was killed, and he was shot.
Every move Ruth makes trying to solve things is followed by the Thorn Killer, he seems to be stalking her.

Investigations lead her to interview a Chris, thought to have been harassing Adela, but after visiting him, Ruth disappears. Blood is found in the lift leading up to his offices.

Determined to find what has happened, Carver with his psychologist's approval discharges himself from hospital, goes to Ruth's house and takes the notes she has been making of the case. On reading them he has a bad feeling that Ruth has discovered the identity of the Thorn Killer.

He becomes frantic to find the truth and to find Ruth.  Can he get to her and save her before perhaps she becomes another of the killer's victims? What ensues leads to a terrifying ending.

What an exciting, nail biting book, it kept me guessing right until the horrific ending.
Very well written with great insight. Highly recommended as long as the reader is prepared to stay up all night to finish it!
Reviewer: Tricia Chappell

Ashley Dyer is the pseudonym for prize-winning novelist Margaret Murphy working in consultation with policing and forensics expert, Helen Pepper.
Margaret Murphy is founder of Murder Squad, a past Chair of the Crime Writers Association (CWA), and a former Writing Fellow and Reading Round Lector for the Royal Literary Fund. She has published nine psychological suspense novels under her own name, including Darkness Falls and Weaving Shadows, and a trilogy of forensic thrillers under the pseudonym A.D. Garrett.

Tricia Chappell. I have a great love of books and reading, especially crime and thrillers. I play the occasional game of golf (when I am not reading). My great love is cruising especially to far flung places, when there are long days at sea for plenty more reading! I am really enjoying reviewing books and have found lots of great new authors.

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