Only the Dead Know

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 20 Aug 2018

Member Reviews

I could not connect to any of the characters in this book.

Daniel Truce comes across like an individual with Asperger’s/autism - with minimal social skills, uncomfortable with people in general. So, he hones his people reading skills – body and facial tics, voice inflections, directions of eye movements. Yet he’s supposed to be able to lure women to his bed easily. There were other inconsistencies in his personality as well. His whole character just didn’t jibe for me.

The plot was boring. I kept pushing myself to continue, hoping it would all improve. It did not. The plot line itself was very disjointed. Nothing felt cohesive. I forced myself to 49% but couldn’t convince myself it was worth it to finish.

I voluntarily reviewed an ARC provided by NetGalley and the publisher.
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Only the Dead Know is the first in a new series (hopefully!) featuring Daniel ‘Uneasy’ Truce, an ex-military policeman suffering from PTSD after serving in the Middle East. His boss has pulled strings and he is now part of a special crime investigation unit based in Edinburgh. His great skill is reading body language but Chief Superintendent Lydia Rose gives him all the boring jobs, and mounds of paperwork, as she resents him being foisted on her team. This is how he gets involved with June who thinks she has witnessed a murder; she reports it to her local police station every day at 11am but, as the victim is alive and well, they don’t take her seriously. Truce is told to ‘shut her up’ but he finds her credible and continues to investigate anyway; like many fictional detectives he is tenacious and keeps asking questions despite the risk to himself. I had not read anything by CJ Dunford before, but I found this story gripping and well written with believable characters and a convincing sense of place. I look forward to reading the next book. Thanks to the author and Netgalley for a copy of Only the Dead Know in exchange for an unbiased review.
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Only The Dead Know by CJ Dunford is the first move in the Daniel Truce series. The story follows Daniel Truce, a former military police officer who has returned home after a traumatic incident left him suffering from PTSD. His military connects have used their sway to get him a job in an elite special investigations police unit in Scotland. There is only one problem, his boss, Rose hates him for some reason. She believes he is a liability and a waste of her time, and makes it her personal mission to make sure he never amounts to anything. 

Assuming it will be a waste of a good police officer’s time, Rose assigns Daniel the task of shutting down June. A local woman who walks into the local precinct every day saying she has seen a man murdered. Only problem is, the local police have already looked into the matter and discovered that the man in question is still alive. Rose tells Daniel that she wants him to get the lady to go away quietly. Wanting to impress his boss, Daniel goes to speak with June. In spite of himself he finds that the woman’s account is believable, and while Daniel may have many issues he has a gift for reading people. Daniel feels he should at the very least investigate June’s claims even if it is unofficially. Daniel’s investigation doesn’t go far before June is killed in a vehicle accident. He death is ruled an accident, but Daniel is left feeling like he is missing something, and that he owes June. 

He vows to continue investigating both June’s death as well  as the death of the man she claims died in front of her. He doesn’t get far when he is attacked in the streets by two thugs looking to teach him a lesson. At this moment Daniel knows there is more to the story. Will he get to the bottom of the conspiracy without joining June? This first novel does close that storyline. The story kept my interest. It may be a bit cliched. The characters are interesting and realistic. The story ended with a twist that I didn’t see coming and it did give the story some added depth. Overall an enjoyable read.
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This is going to be a short review because there isn’t much to say about this book. It really didn’t work for me. I didn’t want to keep reading but I didn’t want it to be an incomplete read so I dragged myself to finish it.

I liked the beginning and how it started off but then 20% through it I got very bored. All throughout the rest of the book I didn’t see a point. I felt like the plot was going nowhere and the ending didn’t really help with it. It’s such a shame because I really wanted to like it. 

I enjoyed the characters and it did have a minimal amount of suspense so it wasn’t a total loss. I just wish it had a little more mystery to it. It felt to me mostly like a police story just running around from place to place looking for answers to a story that wasn’t very well concluded.
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Let's start out with the negative first. I don't think "Uneasy" is a plausible nickname. Ms Dunford chose it to highlight her man's relationship with the world, but it isn't the name a boy would get and with a name like "Daniel" it's a stretch to believe that he got it from his university or even military friends after introducing himself as "Dan" or "Danny". "Hello, I'm Uneasy." Huh? It doesn't work.

Be that as it may, "uneasy" is a good word to describe Daniel Truce now. He suffers from PTSD, flashbacks, and nightmares. His boss at the cop shop doesn't like him, and some of his co-workers are uneasy about him.

His hostile boss gives him paperwork and other useless things to do including dealing with the nutty lady reports the same murder every day at 11 AM. The boss tells him to close this woman down, but as the interview proceeds, Uneasy gets uneasy about the story and the way it's being shuffled around downtown. The cops have talked to the murdered man and he's fine, but the witness is so plausible; no telltale body language that she is lying. Uneasy has the uneasy feeling that she is telling the truth.

So Uneasy keeps tugging at the loose strings in the story and suddenly people are being murdered.

I have no uneasiness in saying that this is a very good story that I think you will like.
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Thankyou to NetGalley,  be ebooks and the author, C J Dunford for the opportunity to read an advanced readers copy of Only The Dead Know. 
I loved reading this mystery novel.  The storyline was well thought and had me intrigued from start to finish.  I loved  the  main character Daniel Truce, His determination to try and lead a somewhat normal life while suffering from PTSD shines through in this novel. 
Definitely a book that is well worth a read. I,  for one, can't wait to read more in this series.
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Daniel "Uneasy" Truce is a former soldier who now works for the police in Scotland.  He leaves his days in the army behind him yet the memory of the experiences are still very much with him and Truce is a PTSD sufferer.

His boss is no fan of Truce and does not value his contribution to the squad so when a serial complainer visits her local police station each day to report the same crime Truce is sent to meet her.  The complainant is June, a feisty widow who manages to convince Truce that she has indeed witnessed a murder.   The only problem is that the alleged victim is still very much alive.

Truce is an expert on body language and firmly believes that June is telling the truth - or what she understands to be the truth. So how can he persuade his grumpy boss that the old "time waster" may have witnessed a crime?  His problem intensifies when June is the victim of a road traffic accident - is this a tragic coincidence or was June murdered?

Only the Dead Know was really enjoyable reading. CJ Dunford tells a great story and this was nicely paced - I just wanted to keep reading.  Truce was an engaging lead character and his personal life looks like it is going to keep us entertained when he returns in future outings as the book is billed as 'the first book in the Daniel 'Uneasy' Truce Mystery series'.

This is exactly the type of story I enjoy.  A police procedural, a nicely plotted mystery to try and solve, realistic characters (June's pals were perfectly depicted) and a twist I had not expected - makes for a happy reader.
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The book was better than I expected and it grabbed my attention from the beginning. 

This is Book #1 in the Daniel Truce series.  Truce is ex-military, with PTSD and he meets June when he’s assigned to investigate a “not dead, murdered man”.  June is a “daft old bat” that insists she saw the “not dead, murdered man” murdered. Then June is killed in a hit and run and Truce decides to start looking deeper...even though he’s been ordered by his boss to back off. He sees coverups everywhere, but isn’t sure if they’re real or he’s being paranoid, so he’s constantly asking his deadbeat roommate for feedback and advice. 

Throughout the book, Truce has nightmares and flashbacks, which we see small glimpses of. That part of the book is somewhat confusing. I’m assuming the next book will pick up where this one left off and go into a little more detail, so I’m excited to read the next Truce book!

Thank you NetGalley, C. J. Dunford and @be_ebooks_com for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review! 

#OnlyTheDeadKnow #NetGalley #Amazon
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Really liked the exploration of ptsd and trauma but I wasn't fully taken with the military standpoint. I loved how June was such an unrealible narrator at times so I didn't know whether to believe her or not.
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I am always intrigued by novels that feature military veterans. I am myself married to a veteran of 15yrs service. I think even for myself, there is something fascinating about a protagonist who has been to war. 

Daniel ‘uneasy’ Truce is an ex-military cop. He was orphaned at a young age and went from children’s home to military service. A situation not to unbelievable, if you’ve ever known any serving personnel. His only friend in the world is Leighton, who is what I’d call a sofa surfer. A close friend that hangs on Daniel’s every word, but actually contributes very little to the household. 

Major Percival Bay managed to organise a role for Truce as a special advisor to combined special crimes task force – police Scotland. A role that is not what it seems. With a boos that hates him, he is often side-lined and given the uninteresting ‘crimes’. His boss Chief Superintendent Lydia Rose assigns him to the case of June Mills. An elderly lady who is reporting the same murder daily. He is given specific instructions to ‘shut her up’. 

‘You could talk to her: mental case to mental case’ – Chief Superintendent Lydia Rose 

When Daniel meets June he actually really warms to her character. She assures him, she is not going senile. But when he digs a little deeper it would appear June is not lying. She leads a busy and happy lifestyle. She had met the victim previous to witnessing his alleged murder. The one problem is, the victim Davie Whiles, isn’t dead! 

Despite their heart-to-heart and meeting of minds. When June fees she isn’t getting anywhere she goes to the press. Which brings a Lydia Rose sized storm upon Daniel. 

Eventually Daniel relents and agrees to take June to the mortuary to ID any recent bodies. I wasn’t 100% this scene was very accurate. But nevertheless, I ran with it. June ID’s no body.

‘There’s a mystery here. A mystery no one wants to solve. Yet everything about it is impossible’ – Truce 
Days later Daniel spots a newspaper article, with a recent death of a woman that sounds a lot like June. The lady in question was knocked over and killed by a taxi driver. Daniel vows to investigate further. 

‘There’s enough evil in this world without you making up more’ – Leighton 

At June’s funeral, Daniel is introduced to her friends and learns more facts. Everything about June’s suicide contradicts itself. June’s death is a confusing case and nothing makes sense at all. 

I did really enjoy the mystery element and found Daniel Truce a fantastic protagonist. There is a Q&A at the back of the novel which expands further upon his characters and themes. It is a brilliant addition and gives much food for thought. But obviously I cannot cover it within this review. There were elements I wasn’t so keen on, the police cast aside from Daniel were an array of stereotype cops. But it doesn’t ruin the enjoyment of this novel, as the focus is mostly on Daniel. 

Intriguing new addition to the crime fiction genre. 4*
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I really enjoyed the first in this new series. Daniel "uneasy" Truce is back in civvy street after a traumatic military tour of the Middle East.

He's got PTSD but manages to land himself a job in an investigations unit. His boss hates him and gives him the job of closing down the case of the old lady who believes she witnessed a murder. There's something about the case which niggles him and he just doesn't want to let it go. What is it that everyone else is missing? A great read. Already looking forward to book #2.
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For the first book of the series, this one sets the pace. We get to know the characters, their backgrounds and their current habitats. The office dynamics being established in this book will lend credence to the books to follow. 

Truce's manner of investigations, his struggles with PTSD and the trauma of losing a friend, it defines him and his actions meaningfully. This shall be a series that will, I hope, pick up pace in the coming books. For the first book, this did all that was required of it. It begins slow and steady and paints a pretty picture for us. Not a nail-biting crime thriller, but a very quick read.
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CJ Dunford’s new crime puzzle, Only the Dead Know, introduces us to Daniel Truce, formally a British Military Police Officer, now Special Advisor to the Combined Special Crimes Task Force in Edinburgh, Scotland. With his uncanny ability to read faces and body language, this should be an ideal placing for him. However (there’s always a however) he had been forced to resign his military commission because of recurring nightmares from an action  gone disastrously wrong. So, the full PTSD. In addition, his unhappy childhood in a children’s home puts him somewhere on the low end of the Asperger’s spectrum, making it difficult for him to establish relationships with other humans. He shares his apartment with his only friend, Leighton, who seems unable or at unwilling to do anything about finding a job or a way of contributing to the upkeep of their home.

After Trace left the army, his former regiment head pulled strings to get him the position in the unit, and in the process pissing off the Task Force Leader, Chief Superintendent Lydia Rose. She resents his forced interjection into her unit, to such an extent that she only allows him the most rudimentary and routine tasks to work on. 

Finally, in the hope of maybe boring him out of the job, she assigns him the task of dealing with a woman who is annoying the officers in a the local Dunfarlin office with her daily, exactly at 11:00, appearance, to report a murder, that she insists she saw. The key issue is that when the officers investigated they found the supposed dead man alive in his own house. DS Rose wants him to use his unique people skills to shut the woman up. When Trace begins to investigate, he becomes interested in the situation, further exasperating DS Rose. When the woman is hit and killed by a taxi coming out of the local bingo parlour, the Chief considers the matter closed, but Trace has become deeply invested in the story and refuses to quit.   

As Trace continues to pursue the case he allows himself to gradually warm to other members of the Task Force, especially Wendy Klein, the task force profiler. The team also includes a generous collection of misfits and other people with unusual skills, who are willing to befriend Trace if he will give them chance.  

On the surface, we seem to have many of the current more popular tropes of crime fiction: dysfunctional lead character, PTSD, interesting perky female helper, divorced mis-fits, antagonistic bosses. But a trope that can be a ho-hum bore in one writer’s hands, in another’s will deliver delights that make the reader want to come back for more and more. In one way or another Ian Rankin, Val McDermid or even Robert Galbraith aka J.K.Rowling have taken these often overworked tropes and turned them in abiding gold. The common thread, which CJ  Dunford shares with these writers, is the ability to write characters and situations that we have to care about. That makes ‘Only the Dead Know’, an enjoyable read and a promising start to a new direction in Ms Dunford’s writing career. 

To summarise: The characters are engrossing and believable, the plot works and includes a sharp twist at the end, the writing is lucid and moves along at a right clip. Daniel Trace isn’t John Rebus – yet, but I heartily recommend getting to know him. 4****
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I am always a fan of a good mystery and CJ Dunford does it so well in this book. I love that our main character is a little bit unreliable. He is struggling with PTSD which made me question what he was seeing and feeling. The mystery has a lot of layers and keeps you questioning what's really going on throughout the story. The one thing that I needed to see more of was development between Daniel and his love interest. It seemed like a lot of their relationship was built before the novel started and so it made their relationship seem abrupt to me. That being said - I thoroughly enjoyed this book all the way through and I can't wait to learn more about Daniel and his story.
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Thank you Netgalley and Bastei Entertainment for this arc.

2.5 stars rounded up.

The story was okay, just occasionally draggy, but nothing unforgivable.  It was Daniel's character I had trouble with.  He was presented as suffering from PTSD and yet in the author's notes following the book, Autism was hinted at.    Asperger syndrome perhaps....    But he lives with a talking ghost and fell into bed with his co-worker psychologist.   Huh???   The other characters felt kinda flat /unrealistic as well.  The story was okay in spite of this.
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I would like to thank Netgalley and Bastei Entertainment for an advance copy of Only the Dead Know, the first novel to feature Daniel "Uneasy" Truce, a former military policeman now working as a civilian investigator in a specialist police unit in Edinburgh.

Truce is asked by his supervisor to shut down June Mills, a pensioner who has been visiting her local police station every day at 11am to report a murder she witnessed. They did investigate and found the man she reported dead alive and well. Not sure who to believe Truce noses around and finds anomalies, then June is knocked down and killed.

I enjoyed Only the Dead Know. It is a short read but has a good mystery at its heart and an interesting, unusual protagonist. Truce has one big skill, he is a body language expert but his skills are going to waste because his boss hates him and only assigns him paperwork. His unofficial investigation lets him use his skills but his PTSD leads him to doubt his conclusions and lose his way. It will be interesting to see where Ms Dunford takes him as he has the beginnings of being a very appealing character.

The novel is an unusual mixture. Truce's investigation widens into something bigger and nastier than a simple case of a pensioner mistaking what she saw and PTSD which Ms Dunford describes well is a serious condition but there is a light hearted tone to the novel, at variance with these darker themes, which made me chortle at times.

Only the Dead Know is a good read which I have no hesitation in recommending.
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