Dead Wicked by Helen H. Durrant


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.


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.


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.

3.25 stars


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 profile page, or the about page on

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Author: sandysbookaday

I love good quality chocolate. I love the ocean and love to be in, on or beside it. I read any and every where. I am a proud mum and Nana. I like wine, gin, Southern Comfort, a cold Heineken on a hot day. I am very versatile like that. I cross stitch, do jigsaws, garden, and work on a farm. I am an occasional scribbled. I have far too many books I want to read to ever find the time to die. I am an active member of Goodreads as Sandy *the world could end while I was reading and I would never notice* and review on Amazon under the name Sandyj21. My Goodreads reviews are automatically linked to my Facebook page. Groups I belong to and participate in on Goodreads include: The Mystery, Crime and Thriller Group; Mysteries and Crime Thrillers; Psychological Thrillers; Reading for Pleasure; Crime Detective Mystery Thrillers; English Mysteries; Dead Good Crime; Kindle English Mystery, All About Books and NZ Readers. April 2016 I made the Top 1% of Goodreads reviewers (As follows) Hello Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*, In our community of readers, you stand out in a notable way: You're one of the top 1% of reviewers on Goodreads! With every rave and every pan, with every excited GIF and every critical assessment, you've helped the Goodreads community get closer to a very important milestone – the 50 Million Reviews mark!

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