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Saturday, February 17, 2018

REVIEW: The Devil's Claw by Lara Dearman @crookedlanebks @laradearman

The Devil's Claw
by Lara Dearman

Thank you so much to Crooked Lane Books for this copy in return for our honest opinions.
A debut, first in a series mystery where we get more from the journalist view point.  See what Jessica and I thought of this below!

Publisher:  Crooked Lane Books
Published January 9, 2018
368 pages
Series:  Jennifer Dorey Mystery #1

Genre:  Mystery, Crime Fiction

Goodreads Synopsis:

Jennifer Dorey thinks she is safe.

Following a traumatic incident in London, Jennifer has returned to her childhood home in Guernsey, taking a job as a reporter at the local newspaper.

After the discovery of a drowned woman on a beach, she uncovers a pattern of similar deaths that have taken place over the past fifty years.

Together with DCI Michael Gilbert, an officer on the verge of retirement, they follow a dark trail of island myths and folklore to 'Fritz', the illegitimate son of a Nazi soldier. His work, painstakingly executed, has so far gone undetected.

But with his identity about to be uncovered, the killer now has Jennifer in his sights.

And home is the last place she should be.

My Review:

Jennifer Dorey returns to her hometown of Guernsey as a reporter for the local newspaper.  A drowned woman on a beach, a new alliance with DCI Michael Gilbert and a pattern that has emerged over years of deaths in this town, the determination to find this killer is fierce.  How does someone who has been killing for this long actually get away with it??  As she gets closer to the truth, her life becomes more and more endangered.

A promising first in a series book that brings in the journalist side to crime solving along with a bit of police procedural.  I found the characters to be compelling.  Jennifer is extremely complex as a traumatized woman who comes home to try and start over.  Michael is also a complex character dealing with alcoholism and religion.  The author does a fantastic job of introducing these two and I did find their interactions probably the most enjoyable throughout the novel.

The unknown narrator was also deliciously creepy and the author allows us to freefall into his relationship with his mother and his past - giving us some empathy for this cold blooded killer.
The author certainly knows how to bring a story to a page.  While the executions and storylines were fantastic, it lacked a certain edge I like in these types of book.  While it kept my attention, it didn't keep me captivated.  I think I will definitely be the minority opinion in this.  I certainly think it will be a hit amongst most crime fiction lovers and am curious where the author will go in this series.

Thank you so much to Crooked Lane Books for this book in exchange for my honest opinion.


Jessica's Review:

The start of a new crime series, but from the perspective of a journalist. THE DEVIL'S CLAW by Lara Dearman is a page-turning read as Jennifer fights to find the killer before he finds her.

Jennifer Dorey moves back home to Guernsey after a traumatic event in London. She takes a job as a reporter for their local newspaper. When a woman is found on the beach - death by drowning - Jennifer begins her research and discovers that this is similar to deaths that have been occurring over the last half century. With DCI Michael Gilbert, they venture through folklore, island myths, and the dark history from when Nazi occupation took hold. Will they be able to stop this killer that has been running loose for 50 years?

I loved the snippets of history mixed into this psychological thriller. You get a peek into the Nazi occupation and what happened in Guernsey. How this played a role in the investigation was woven expertly by Dearman. Jennifer is a great lead character - a journalist trying to recover from a traumatizing event. I am very curious to see where she is taken as the series progresses. The dynamic between Jennifer and Michael was great. They played off each other well and you got to see each of them develop as the story progressed.

To some, this might start out a little slower than you're wanting for a psychological thriller, but it picks up and doesn't stop. The unknown narrator was eerie and when the final reveal came the tension was at an all time high. How can a serial killer go unpunished for FIFTY years? The added folklore element made this a more unique read and helped bring us into the mind of this killer.

Overall, if you want a great psychological thriller that isn't from the perspective of a police officer, then you'll love the start of the Jennifer Dorey series. I liked the uniqueness of this thriller and can't wait for more from Dearman!

I give this 4.5/5 stars!

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