Dead Inside (Maggie Jamieson, #1)

Dead Inside by Noelle Holten

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Knowing Noelle Holten is a crime book junkie, reading and breathing crime thrillers, I was anticipating Dead Inside eagerly. I read the blurb a while back and was impressed by the unique premise. The book did not disappoint, ticking all the crime thriller boxes, and some, and the characterisation was excellent. The subject matter, domestic abuse, which also looks at the psychological aspect of abuse – important for me because that is often overlooked, or excused, sometimes by the sufferer, so insidious and manipulative is the abuser.

Noelle Holten brings her own experience working as a probation officer to the story, and she does it superbly, allowing the reader to immediately empathise with central character, Lucy Sherwood, whose job as a probation officer brings her into daily contact with domestic abusers. Even when it seems these criminals are itching to vent their frustrations regarding the system, Lucy handles herself. She’s competent. Behind closed doors, though, Lucy’s life has direct parallels with the victims of the people whose cases she handles. She lives each day of her life on tenterhooks, her overriding aim to protect ten-year-old Siobhan, her abuser’s daughter who she loves as her own.

Enter DC Maggie Jamieson. Dealing with her own family issues, she’s newly transferred to the Domestic Abuse and Homicide Unit and still haunted by the gruesome memories of her previous case. Her first new case is the grisly murder of a man linked to domestic abuse, which appears to be a vengeance killing. When more bodies are found, it’s soon apparent that the perpetrators of domestic abuse are being targeted. Maggie Jamieson and the DAHU team have a serial killer to track down. I have to say here, that I loved Maggie’s first day on the job. She is wrongfooted, but soon proves her worth. Again the characterisation shone through for me, each character having his own unique voice.

Our probation officer, Lucy, plays a key part as the investigation proceeds and the reader’s suspicion is aroused. The author has some clever twists, however, to keep you guessing – there’s a fabulous one at the end. No spoilers.

Dead Inside is a gritty, emotional, hard-hitting book that deals with delicate subjects. Bringing her own expertise to bear, the author writes frankly, assuredly and sensitively. If you love crime thrillers with a powerful story and strong characters you want to root for, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Dead Inside. Highly.

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