Dead Inside by Noelle Holten #Bookreview #BlogTour

The killer is just getting started…

When three wife beaters are themselves 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 police are running out of time, but can Maggie really believe her friend Lucy is a cold-blooded killer?

I'm so thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for Dead Inside by Noelle Holten today. I've long been a fan of Noelle's fabulous reviews over at CrimeBookJunkie and had no doubt that she would be as brilliant an author as she is a blogger. Many thanks to Noelle, Killer Reads and Sarah Hardy from BOTBS Publicity for inviting me and for my advance copy of the book which I received through NetGalley.

I'm glad I started reading Dead Inside on a Saturday because it meant I had the day free to read it without being interrupted. I did not want to put this book down and had finished it by the early evening. When I sat down to write this review I started thinking what it is that makes a crime novel so gripping, I just want to keep reading.
The plot obviously has to be engrossing and Dead Inside, with its multilayered, complex storyline is exactly that. I loved the way Noelle Holten doesn't just tell one story here but switches between the viewpoints of the different characters, allowing their lives to unfold over the course of the novel until eventually the strands are drawn together and the devastating truth is revealed. The pacing is superb throughout, nothing feels rushed and yet it never loses focus; no matter which character is in the spotlight, I wanted to know more about them.
This leads me on to another huge asset of Dead Inside and that is the characters. This is billed as the first DC Maggie Jamieson book and it's a great introduction. At the start of the novel, we learn she has been transferred from the murder team to the newly formed Domestic Abuse and Homicide Unit and is clearly still affected by her last case. Before long, she is investigating another death when a known wife beater is discovered to have been brutally murdered. The nature of the crime implies that this was a personal killing and when two more men with a history of domestic violence are also murdered, it seems that somebody has decided to exact a merciless punishment on them. I don't yet feel I know Maggie that well but I like what I've seen so far and am intrigued to know more; there is much to suggest that she faces challenges ahead in both her professional and personal life. The main focus of this story is Probation Officer, Lucy Sherwood and she is such a great character. Her role brings her into daily contact with men who have been convicted of domestic abuse and are now on probation - and she knows exactly how to handle these volatile individuals. In a cruel twist, however, Lucy's own husband, Patrick emotionally and physically abuses her. There are some truly heartbreaking scenes where we see the mentally shattering effect of domestic abuse with Lucy becoming increasingly depressed as her confidence is stolen from her. She knows she should leave but she is starkly aware that her stepchildren, Siobhan and Rory need a stable, loving anchor in their lives and so she stays to protect them. There are several other characters who all have important roles to play in the proceedings; some are victims or survivors of abuse and some are the perpetrators. They are all vividly brought to life meaning that although it takes a little while to figure out how they are connected, each of them is clearly defined and I was engaged by all of their stories, no matter how difficult they may have been to read.
So the plot, pacing and characterisation are all first-rate and Noelle Holten's own experience working in the Probation Service ensures an assured authenticity to the action. For me, though, what really makes Dead Inside stand out is that it's written with such empathetic and honest perceptiveness. Domestic Abuse is a difficult and emotive subject to write about but the balance between an exciting, compelling story and a thoughtful exploration of the topic is just right here. There are some necessarily violent and upsetting scenes but nothing ever feels gratuitous. The storyline includes an insightful look at why people may become offenders and the terrible cycle of violence and abuse which may not excuse but does help explain why this is the only response some abusers understand. Why people stay in violent relationships is also sensitively examined with the astute understanding that although the answers may seem obvious to outsiders, there are several reasons why a person might not leave at the first indication that a partner may be abusive.
Dead Inside is a brilliant debut novel which ticks all the boxes and then some, with an excellent conclusion that left me both completely satisfied with the resolution to this case and yet still intrigued to know more. The chilling ending suggests Maggie has a difficult time ahead of her and I can't wait to discover what lies in store in the next book, Dead Wrong. In the meantime, I am thrilled to highly recommend Dead Inside, this is a series and indeed an author definitely worth following!

Dead Inside is published by Killer Reads, an imprint of HarperCollins, purchasing links can be found here.

Don't miss the rest of the blog tour, details are below.

About the Author

Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at 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 a variety of cases including those involving serious domestic abuse. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle's hobbies include reading, author-stalking and sharing the booklove via her blog. 
Dead Inside is her debut novel with Killer Reads/Harper Collins UK and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.
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  1. OMG YAY!! Love this review. Thank you SO much xoxoxox

  2. Thanks so much for being part of the blog tour today Karen x


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