I was over the moon to be asked to take part in the blog tour for Stephanie Marland’s ‘You Die Next’, the second in the Bell and Starke series. Thanks to the publisher and the author for the advanced review copy.
Before I share my thoughts, here’s what the official blurb says:
When a group of urban explorers stumble across a murderer’s kill room in a derelict film studio, terror strikes. And when one of the group is found dead, the team realise – they’re being hunted.
DI Dominic Bell is investigating the murder, but as the body count rises, time is running out. The only person who can help him is Dominic’s ex, Clementine Starke – but Clementine is haunted by her own demons. Can the two of them pair up to catch the killer? Or is it already too late?
A cat-and-mouse thriller perfect for fans of Sarah Hilary and Rachel Abbott. Read it if you dare!
“You Die Next” is the second in the series featuring Clementine Starke and DI Dominic Bell. While it can be read as a stand-alone , with enough background information provided, I’d highly recommend reading “My Little Eye” first, as it such a bloody good read! (Check my review of My Little Eye here)
A nail-biting prologue sets the scene for what’s to come. A group of urbexers (Urban Explorers) break into an abandoned movie theatre while live streaming the event but they stumble across something rather disturbing and the streaming goes dead! We then cut to Clementine Stark being interviewed about her role in the capture of The Lover from the last novel. Right from the beginning I was hooked and then some!
I have to say that I really connect with Clementine Starke, something about her draws her to me. There something quirky about the character. Yet despite the quirkiness Clementine is full of depth; her obsessive personality is explored in detail in this novel and we learn so much more about the mindset of this intriguing protagonist. Family relationships are under the microscope as she pursues her own investigation into her father’s death. She is obsessed with finding out what happened to her father. For years she had blamed herself. But it is becoming clearer that all is not what it first seemed as she uncovers links to her father’s past and her own present, leaving her unsure of just who she can trust. Clementine is one of the strongest characters I’ve read for a long time and I love her!
Running parallel to Clem’s research is DI Dominic Bell’s investigation into an unexplained death in the tube and the author marries up both plots in perfect harmony as we watch both characters struggle with the weight of their private and professional lives. And of course, there is still that chemistry between Clementine and Dominic adding an extra tension to the storyline.
Abandoned railway and tube stations, Urbexers relishing the challenge of the forbidden, obsession, corruption and narcissism in a world where people attach value according to social media likes and following this is a brilliant psychological exploration of a modern phenomena, it is both topical and relevant in a world where social media and the need for recognition leads the way. It is dark both in location, the underground and of course the metaphorical underground world of those who seek their thrills; character driven with a cast of both compelling and also very relatable characters who invite you inside of their head for the ride. This series nails it for me, a genius combination of character and perfectly executed plot drew me in, placing me firmly in situ and inside the minds of the characters. I found myself thinking about them when I wasn’t reading the book. I didn’t want to put it down but I didn’t want it to end! It kept me on my toes right up until the last page, this is definitely a “read past your bedtime” kind of book!
Don’t forget to check out what the other bloggers are saying:
You Die Next is available to purchase from:
About the author:
Stephanie Marland has worked in the University sector for over ten years and published research on how people interact and learn together in virtual environments online. She’s an alumni of the MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) at City University London, and an avid reader of all things crime fiction, blogging about books at http://www.crimethrillergirl.com. Steph also writes the Lori Anderson action thriller series (as Steph Broadribb) for Orenda Books, the first book Deep Down Dead is out now.