I am absolutely over the moon to be taking part in the blog tour for what is probably THE most anticipated book of 2019! My #Twinnie, fellow blogger, publicist and now published author, Noelle Holten’s debut novel Dead Inside was published on the 30th of May and it is one that you MUST add to your TBR now! A huge thanks to Noelle, Killer Reads and Sarah over at BookOnTheBrightside for inviting me on to the tour!
Before I share my thoughts, here’s what the official blurb says:
‘An excellent read’ Martina Cole
A dark and gripping debut crime novel – the first in a stunning new series – from a huge new talent.
‘Kept me hooked … excellent pace and a very satisfying ending’ Angela Marsons
When three domestic abuse offenders are found beaten to death, DC Maggie Jamieson knows she is facing her toughest case yet.
The police suspect that Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood – who is connected to all three victims – is hiding a dark secret. Then a fourth domestic abuser is brutally murdered. And he is Lucy’s husband.
Now the finger of suspicion points at Lucy and the police are running out of time. Can Maggie and her team solve the murders before another person dies? And is Lucy really a cold-blooded killer?
I think this one deserves to start with a little EEEEEKKKK! As one of Noelle’s beta readers for this book, when I came to read the final version, it was my third time reading the book but you know what, that prologue reaches out and grabs me by the throat EVERY single time! #KillerHookAlert going on here! It is authentic, it is vivid and it is sickeningly terrifying!
It is hard to believe that Dead Inside is a debut novel; a hard hitting story of domestic abuse and murder, with a cast of completely relatable and engaging characters and a nail-biting plot, this one will keep you turning the pages way after bedtime!
It was impossible not to be moved by Lucy Sherwood’s plight, by day she is a respected Probation Officer but at home she is a shadow of herself cowed by her abusive husband, Patrick.It’s a fantastic portrayal of domestic abuse and shatters the myth that abuse only happens to a certain section of society. It also addresses that whole issue of “why doesn’t she just leave” underlying the many reasons why people stay in abusive relationships. It had me crying for Lucy but cheering her on at the same time. I loved watching Lucy with her colleagues and her developing relationships with others she meets at work, it was easy to see the woman she could be without Patrick controlling her. The whole time though, “what if Patrick finds out” was running through my head as I bit my nails down to the quick!
Now, Patrick- there are so many words I want to use for him but I’d probably get barred from everywhere! This guy made my skin crawl, he made my hackles rise and hell he made me want to reach into the pages and take him by the scrawny neck and…ok so you get the picture? That’s right I did not like this man! I felt so sorry for his kids and the damage he was doing to them. I really felt as though, I knew this guy, charming and manipulative when he wanted something and more than happy to justify his actions to suit his own twisted mindset. There are so many Patricks out there in this world!
It’s evident that the author has a working knowledge of the probation system and this shines through in her writing. You’d be hard pushed not to feel like you are smack bang in the midst of the criminal justice system such is the authenticity. It was refreshing to read the story from the Probation side of things, this is an area we don’t often get to hear about in crime fiction and I’m looking forward to hearing more about the team as the series goes on.
With a whole host of characters it’s impossible to talk about them all. There’s a few familiar names there that might make you smile! A firm favourite of mine was DC Maggie Jamieson. Still reeling after the investigation into the brutal murders by psychopath, Bill Raven, we soon realise that Maggie’s life isn’t as clear cut as we might first believe when her brother gets in touch. Maggie has been moved over to the Domestic Abuse and Homicide Unit and is finding her feet and place within the team. Two of her colleagues, Mark and Kat also made a huge impact on me. oh Kat, she made me laugh with her straight talking and colourful language! Mark’s view of domestic abuse offenders may not have been professional but they were totally understandable. He kind of warmed my heart a little and I’m dying to know how his friendship with Lucy plays out.
Of course it’s not just about the characters, a multi layered plot gives the reader plenty to lap up. While we watch Lucy cope with the split between her private and professional life, Maggie Jamieson is caught up in a spate of murders. It’s kind of hard to feel Sorry for the victims though especially when you know what they have been up to! It certainly gives you a little moral dilemma to chew over! There is more than enough here to keep the reader satisfied. Entirely topical in relation to domestic abuse but also relevant in times of multi agency working and the communication issues faced, I was completely engrossed all the way through. And with an ending that promises and exciting follow up, this series is definitely one on my must read list!
From a gut punching prologue to a nail biting plot, sitting alongside a splendid cast of characters, Dead Inside is an outstanding debut from a writer who is sure to continue to wow us with her work! I don’t know about anyone else but I am dying to read book number two already!
Don’t forget to check out what the other bloggers have been saying:
Dead Inside is available for purchase from
About the author:
Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at http://www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and a regular reviewer on the Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast. Noelle worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering cases of domestic violence and abuse. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Dead Inside is her debut novel and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.
Twitter: (@nholten40) https://twitter.com/nholten40
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18489795.Noelle_Holten
Blog: https://www.crimebookjunkie.co.ukInstagram: @crimebookjunkie