#BookReview #Damaged Dan Scottow @DanScottow @Bloodhoundbook

Damaged: a heart-stopping psychological thriller by [Scottow, Dan]
Source: Purchased copy via Amazon UK

When Caro Ramsay, one of my favourite Scottish crime writers started singing the praises of this debut by Dan Scottow, I knew I just had to read it! That woman has taste you know!

What the blurb says:

Do you believe everything you’re told? 

Journalist Emily Blake is sent back to her hometown to investigate the disappearance of a young girl called Becky Clarke. Emily takes the assignment willingly as the case echoes the disappearance of her childhood friend, Alice Abbott, twenty-five years earlier.

Returning to the village, Emily renews old acquaintances and rivalries. She reconnects with her estranged brother Adam, who has never quite recovered from tragic events from their past.

While she looks into the disappearance of Becky Clarke, Emily revisits Alice’s case but not everyone welcomes her investigation. 

As lies that have been told for twenty-five years surrounding Alice’s disappearance begin to unravel, Emily is drawn deeper into the mystery. 

What happened to Alice? 

Will Becky ever be found? 

And do the answers lie closer to home than anyone ever imagined?

My thoughts:

Damaged opens up with an idyllic scene, two children playing in the garden, their laughs ringing out on a warm sunshine day, but I swear I heard the scary music start up in the background. Somehow the most idyllic scenes can be the most chilling, don’t you think?

It’s quickly followed by one dead body and one almost dead body tied to a radiator, I mean talk about knocking the wind out of your sails, it’s clear this is an author well up for messing with your mind!

It follows the story of Emily Blake who has returned to her home town after 25 years. She was one of the girls playing in the garden and it was her best friend who went missing. She’s looking for closure but she uncovers so much more.

Journalist, Emily Blake, was an interesting character, there was a weight of sadness surrounding her, and I could sense it bleeding through the pages, it was as though her whole being was weighed down by the disappearance of her best friend all those years ago. When she returns to her home town to investigate the disappearance of another child, I really felt as though the town were closing in on her. It felt claustrophobic, I felt as though I were being suffocated alongside her.

There are secrets around every corner in this book, you can feel them peer out at you from behind the pages. Each character is hiding something and this makes them, perhaps not, always the most likeable or trustworthy of people, even though you feel sorry for their circumstances.

Helen Abbot, Alice’s mother was intriguing, the author drew a pitiful and damaged creature, her descent into insanity made for a chilling read. Emily’s brother, Adam and his girlfriend, Lily, were intense in their toxicity. The neighbours, Alan and Sandie and their links to the past providing a twisted backdrop to the storyline. Each of them brought their own slant to the story, through the narrative I was drip fed their story, who did I believe, who did I trust? Nobody, that’s for sure!

I think the character I felt for the most was Tom, Alice’s brother. That man had the weight of the world on his shoulders and I could almost see him slump in front of me.

There are some seriously messed up characters in this book and damaged is indeed the perfect title for a novel full of characters whose lives have been irrevocably altered and damaged all those years ago.

It’s a tough subject matter to handle but the author does it well, there are one or two scenes which might have you gasp if you are of a sensitive nature.

Deeply uncomfortable, eerie and chilling, lies and secrets litter the pages, they twist you and they turn you and then spit you out at the end!

Damaged is available to purchase via

Amazon UK

Amazon US

About the author:

Dan grew up in Hertfordshire before moving to London in his early twenties. After more than ten years living there, he decided enough was enough, and packed his bags for Scotland in search of a more peaceful life.
Dan works as a graphic designer, but dreams of the day he can give it up and write full time.
Besides writing, he enjoys painting, watching a good scary film, travelling the world, good food, long walks on the beach with his dogs, and of course, reading a great book.
Dan’s debut psychological Thriller ‘Damaged’ is out now, and available to buy or download.

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