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Wednesday 25 April 2018

‘Too Close to Breathe’ by Olivia Kiernan

Published by Riverrun Books. 
5 April 2018.
ISBN: 978-1-78648-986-9(HB).
ISBN: 978-1-78648-987-6(PB).

A distinguished microbiologist and part-time lecturer is found hanged at her home, and all the evidence points to her having killed herself. Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan, just returned to work after nearly dying from a knife attack that left her mentally and physically scarred, is assigned to the case. She quickly comes to the conclusion that scientist Eleanor Costello was murdered.

And so, Frankie and her team begin an investigation that takes them to the dark and seedy heart of Dublin, and more than one dead body will be left in the murderer’s shadow.

I thought Too Close To Breathe, the debut novel from Olivia Kiernan, was simply fabulous. Reminiscent of one of my favourite authors, Tana French, it had whip-smart dialogue, intricate plotting, on the money characterisation and beautiful writing – not a wasted word. I loved that Frankie Sheehan was a strong, more than capable protagonist with the requisite flaws who did not need a romance to define her.

It has to be said that the novel may not be for the faint-hearted, dealing as it does with suicide, abuse, BDSM and the Dark Web, But I feel Olivia Kiernan handles all the themes deftly and with sensitivity.

This cleverly plotted police procedural with its well-drawn together threads is the start of a new series and one of the best I have read in a long time. A gripping and accomplished first novel – I recommend it highly!
Reviewer: Mary-Jane Riley

Olivia Kiernan is an Irish writer living in the UK and author of crime thriller, TOO CLOSE TO BREATHE. She was born and raised in County Meath, near the famed heritage town of Kells and holds an MA in Creative Writing awarded by the University of Sussex.

Mary-Jane Riley wrote her first story on her newly acquired blue Petite typewriter, when she was eight. When she grew up she had to earn a living and became a BBC radio talk show presenter and journalist. She has covered many life-affirming stories, but also some of the darkest events of the past two decades. Then, in true journalistic style, she decided not to let the facts get in the way of a good story and got creative. She wrote for women's magazines and small presses. She formed WriteOutLoud with two writer friends to help charities get their message across using their life stories. Now she is writing crime thrillers drawing on her experiences in journalism. Her third book, set in East Anglia and featuring investigative journalist Alex.  Dark Waters, was published by Harper Collins/Killer Reads in March 2018.

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