EXCERPT: The white sheet was removed to reveal a tall thin young man whose upper body was covered in cuts and bruises, evidence of the beating and torture he’d suffered.
‘The killer didn’t hold back,’ Ruth observed.
‘Given his injuries, I’m surprised he had the strength to attempt to escape,’ Natasha said.
‘He’d be in a hell of a state,’ Ruth added. ‘The poor bugger must have been in agony.’
‘I want to check what’s going on in his throat. If there are blood clots, it will reinforce the theory that he choked to death. Mind you, he does have a sizeable bump on the back of his head,’ Natasha said.
‘Could that have been fatal?’ Calladine asked.
‘Incapacitating and serious, but I doubt it killed him.’ Natasha made some incisions to allow her to look at the back of his mouth and the oesophagus. Taking a large pair of tweezers, she went in. ‘Not quite what I thought,’ she said, and lifted something out. ‘The killer cut out his tongue and then pushed it back down his throat.’ She plopped the discoloured piece of flesh into a bowl. ‘The bang on the head was possibly the killer’s way of rendering the poor man incapable of fighting back.’
ABOUT THIS BOOK: The fist victim is found on waste ground. His tongue has been cut out and stuffed down his throat.
Then another body is found dumped in a lake up in the hills. The same gruesome murder method is used.
And guess who the detectives’ new boss is? The incredibly difficult Stephen Greco.
A TWISTED KILLER . . . AND A WICKED TWIST
Meanwhile Ruth Bayliss’s personal life is falling part and someone is targeting local businesses with ransomware.
The prime suspect is a criminal Calladine thought he’d seen the last of.
WHO’S THE SERIAL KILLER AND WHO’S NEXT ON THE LIST?
MY THOUGHTS: I have read and enjoyed most of this series, but Dead Wicked lacked a little something for me – or maybe it was trying to cram a little too much in….multiple murders, kidnappings, ransomware, drug dealing, Ruth’s relationship breakup, Calladines daughter’s baby (and that’s complicated!)
Once again, the book has been over-hyped with ‘DEAD WICKED a totally addictive crime thriller with a huge twist on the cover. I didn’t find it addictive, nor even particularly gripping. And the twist? Sorry, but I saw it coming.
Durrant’s writing doesn’t flow as easily in Dead Wicked as it has done in other books in this series. At times, the dialogue was stilted, and everything felt a little superficial. I am starting to think that it is perhaps time I put this series out to grass. Perhaps we have outgrown each other. It’s been nice knowing you, we’ve had a lot of fun, but …
This isn’t a bad read, just not as good as most of the others in the series. And Dead Wicked does need to be read as part of the series. Not recommended as a stand-alone read.
THE AUTHOR: Helen sets her books in the area she has lived in for many years. The towns and villages that sit in the shelter of the Pennine hills. This is an area between two counties, Lancashire and Yorkshire, and between the city and the hills. It offers a rich mix of the industrial and the countryside and all the character therein.
Helen always planned to write crime novels. But until she retired from full-time work in a local further education college, it had to go on the back burner. Once she did retire – there was no excuse. She now writes full-time. Retirement proper will have to wait!
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Joffe Books via NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of Dead Wicked by Helen H. Durrant for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
For an explanation of my rating system, please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page, or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com
This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and Goodreads.com