Cover Image: Dead Inside

Dead Inside

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Member Reviews

Well, Dead Inside had me completely captivated from page one! If I didn’t know already there is no way in a million years that I would have thought this is a debut novel. Noelle Holten obviously has a natural talent for writing. 
Dead Inside features a diverse number of characters, some much more likeable than others. I love that some of them have names very familiar to me in the book blogging world! They must be over the moon to be immortalised forever within this story.
Lucy is a very likeable character and one who I really felt for. Her husband, Patrick, is a proper nasty piece of work. Having never been in an abusive relationship it’s difficult to understand why some women stay with these men. Lucy especially, given her job as a probation officer dealing with domestic abuse offenders. I understood her love for the children though, even though she isn’t their mother, and the responsibility she feels for keeping them safe. 
Patrick is one of a few characters who seem to think that women are there to serve whatever purpose they desire. These men truly made my skin crawl and to be honest they don’t really deserve to be called men. They are despicable excuses for human beings.
When these men end up dead, brutally murdered, DC Maggie Jamieson and the team are tasked with finding out what connects them all and who might be capable of such horrific violence. 
When it’s realised that Lucy is connected things just go from bad to worse and the story becomes even more intriguing. 
I can’t begin to tell you how fast-paced and tense this story is. The short chapters add to the tension and the need to read just one more (or two, or three, or twenty!). Raw emotion pours off the pages and the ending just blew me away. It’s completely heart-breaking. I have no doubts that the story will stay with me for a very long time to come. 
Such an excellent start to a new series. I can’t wait to read book two!
Many thanks for the opportunity to join in with the blog tour to celebrate the paperback release of Dead Inside. I can’t recommend highly enough!
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I feel like I have been waiting so long to write this review! I read this book almost as soon as I received a copy as I was eager to find out what Noelle had written, knowing as I did that her personal experience as a probation officer had fed into the plot of her debut novel, and I have to say I was not disappointed.

This is the first in a projected series following DC Maggie Jamieson, and it was a great set up for this character. Noelle revealed just enough about her to whet our appetite and make her someone whose story we would want to follow through future books, but still left a lot to be developed as far as she was concerned and an interesting hook to entice the reader in to the next book. However, this story was not really Maggie’s but Lucy’s.

Lucy was a fascinating character, and the perfect one to carry the story and deal effectively with the issues that Noelle wanted to raise. She is a woman with a foot in both camps of the narrative, firstly as a probation officer having to deal on a day to day basis with the perpetrators of domestic violence, and secondly as a woman who is herself a victim. The idea that someone who so clearly sees on a daily basis the reality of these men and the harm they cause to their victims and, at the same time, be able to justify to herself in her personal life putting up with this exact same treatment herself was devastatingly effective in illustrating just how hard it can be for women to break out of these situations. I thought the premise and execution were genius, and it really made me confront the reality of the problem, as someone who has no personal experience herself but who might have thought it was something I could never put up with. It is clear, reading this, that none of us should be complacent and we should all educate ourselves and have sympathy and understanding for women who find themselves in impossible situations.

The writing in the book is affecting and immersive. Noelle has a very interesting and unique style, an individual author voice that I found refreshing. The short chapters and unflowery style were perfect for the story, maintaining the tension and bringing into relief the starkness of the situation the characters were facing and it was a read that propelled me through the pages without any wasted words or break in impetus. I found the descriptions of the symbiotic relationship between the different agencies involved in the criminal justice process fascinating, and a very different take than we often see in crime novels. The focus on probation as much as the initial investigation was really interesting to me and definitely something I would like to see more of.

This is a great debut, with a fascinating premise, compelling writing, a unique perspective and a fresh, individual author voice and we should all be excited about this interesting, new author in the genre. I would highly recommend this book for crime fans looking for something new and a little bit different to read. It is well worth consideration and I am looking forward to the next in the series.
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I'm always honoured to be involved in reading and review any book for a blog tour but there's no denying that this one is something special.  Noelle is an amazing book blogger and a brilliant publishing PR and is now stirring up our darkest thoughts with her amazing debut novel - Dead Inside.  She draws on all her professional experience and has created a terrifying and thought provoking novel.

At work as a probation officer, Lucy is strong, calm and brave but once she is at home with her abusive husband this seems to disappear.  DCI Maggie Jamieson (good friend of Lucy) has just started working with a new team, investigating domestic abuse.  When four domestic abusers are found dead, one of them Lucy's husband then all fingers and evidence seems to point to her.  Is it coincidence or is she a vengeful killer?  

I love a crime novel and for me the darker the better.  Dead inside is superbly written and delves inside the world of domestic abuse in a very brutal but honest manner.  I will say the descriptions and abuse scenes are hard hitting and eye opening but I strongly feel this is something that people need a more realistic and honest awareness of.   The biggest thing that struck me about Dead Inside was the personal questions it raised in my own head.  There were times when I wasn't sure whose side to be on if I'm honest.  when is it okay to fight back?  How much provocation can one person take before they retaliate? Is it really murder if it's retaliation for years of abuse?  Are we better off with some people not on this Earth?  And the scariest thoughts of all for me were about the human rights of criminals and their equal treatments. 

Phew! My poor brain!

DCI Jamieson is the main protagonist and I love how Noelle has written a strong female detective into her novel.  However I feel that Lucy's story is the main arc here and her character has the most depth and complication.  Both are great characters and I am pleased to see a novel where the leads are mainly female.

Overall this is a cracking debut from Noelle Holten and I am so excited after seeing the cover for her second Maggie Jamieson novel. 

A brutally honest insight into domestic abuse and a brilliant police procedural.
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Dead Inside is a debut novel and I thought it was a really good one with plenty to offer the reader.

There are two key characters: DC Maggie Jamieson and Lucy Sherwood/Quinn, a probation officer. I really liked the focus on the two jobs, the police and the probation service, and how they worked together and I thought this was a really strong and interesting aspect to this book, something that made it stand out from the police procedural crowd.

The plot centres around domestic abuse. Four abusers are murdered in a brutal way. Maggie is investigating and Lucy is linked to them all. But who is the killer? 

I enjoyed the very short chapters which made this a snappy read and I thought the story overall was fast-paced and kept up my interest levels. I liked the two main characters but I absolutely loathed the awful men who perpetrated such horrible acts of violence and abuse. The characterisations are strong and I felt I could really picture the people as well as the settings. 

The author was a probation officer for many years and it's clear she knows what she's talking about. It does make me wonder how on earth anyone can do a job like that, dealing with those horrid people! I'm sure there are good bits to counteract the bad ones though (I hope so, anyway).

There are a few red herrings as to the murderer and I kept thinking it was obviously so-and-so, only to change my mind a few chapters on. In the end, it wasn't anyone I thought it was going to be so that was a nice surprise. I read another review in which the reviewer guessed who it was early on - I'm not sure how but maybe they should join the police themselves!

Dead Inside is an accomplished debut, definitely one for all crime fans. Oh and I loved the way it was set up for a sequel at the end. It's a gritty and hard-hitting story which never slows down for a minute. Great stuff!
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When crime fiction royalty like Ian Rankin and Martina Cole recommend a book, aficionados of the genre sit up and take notice and that is certainly the case for Noelle Holten’s impressive and assured first novel, Dead Inside. Introducing kick ass DC Maggie Jameson, Dead Inside is dark, gritty and twisty crime fiction at its finest.

As a Probation Officer, Lucy Sherwood is used to dealing with lowlifes and criminals. At work she is strong, tough and does not suffer fools gladly. Nothing makes her flinch and nothing makes her cower in the shadows, however, Lucy’s personal life is as far removed from her professional life as it is possible to get. Her husband Patrick is an absolute monster who delights in terrifying, bullying and abusing her. The facade of the strong woman at work crumbles as soon as Patrick walks through the door and as Lucy feels her spirit and independence diminish with each passing day, she cannot help but wish that things were different. Working with perpetrators of domestic abuse, Lucy is sick and tired of her husband, her clients and of a system that makes the victims suffer time and time again. But just how far would Lucy go to break this vicious cycle of violence?

DC Maggie Jameson has just started a new job in a new police unit and she is keen to prove herself. Being a woman in the still male-dominated field of policing is tough, but Maggie refuses to be deterred. When three wife beaters are found beaten to death, Maggie knows that she is facing her toughest case yet. As the investigation begins in earnest, the police begin to wonder who might have been the killer. With each passing day, the pressure is one to ensure that justice is served and whoever perpetrated this act is thrown in jail. However, things get even more complicated when a fourth man is found. A man who was a known domestic abuser – who also happens to be married to the woman who has a connection with all the murdered wife beaters: Lucy Sherwood.

Is Lucy guilty or innocent? Did she kill all four men? Or is there something far more sinister and menacing than the police have imagined going on? Time is definitely not on Maggie’s side, but she will leave no stone unturned to find out the truth about these four murders – even if it means a conviction for Lucy Sherwood…

Noelle Holten’s Dead Inside should come with a warning: if you go to bed at night with this book, you are will still be reading it by sunrise as putting it down is simply not an option. Shocking, harrowing, terrifying and so addictive you will lose sleep, Dead Inside is a crime novel that packs plenty of punch and keeps readers on a knife’s edge completely and utterly consumed by this fast-paced, brilliantly written and compulsively readable thriller.

Maggie Jameson is a phenomenal character who is impressive, intelligent and impressive and she is certainly a heroine readers will want to read more about.

A fantastic crime thriller from a writer who is sure to become a star in field, Dead Inside is a sensational debut that should not be missed
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A big thank you to Sarah Hardy and the publisher for issuing me with my review copy of the book and for inviting me to take part on the blog tour.

Wow – what an absolute belter of a debut novel. I’m still reeling from the ending! As this is the first in the series featuring DI Maggie Jamieson, I’m genuinely excited to read more (I’m pretty sure that I’ve read that Noelle has already finished book 3…..)

With Noelle herself being a former probation officer, her experience has clearly added a genuine authenticity to the story which is brilliantly interwoven but not overwhelming.

We follow a police investigation into a murder, who we later learn is a domestic abuser and are introduced to DI Maggie Jamieson. New to the area she is thrown straight into the investigation when more bodies are discovered and discovers they have all been released recently from prison – is there a vigilante on the loose? Or has one of their victims had enough and decided to take matters into their own hands? Although not an easy subject to tackle, Noelle does brilliantly in keeping you completely absorbed with the investigation.

To add another aspect to the investigation, we also follow Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood. Although Lucy appears to have it together in her career, she regularly deals with the most hardened of criminals, when she returns home on a night it is a completely different story. Lucy herself is a victim of regular domestic abuse from her husband Gary and she struggles to keep her lives separate.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and couldn’t wait to find out how things would end. It’s safe to say that I didn’t guess how it would really end! Noelle Holten completely kept me on the toes as I tried to second guess every action through her meticulate planning. I’m really excited to read more, if this book is anything to go by, and to learn more about Maggie Jamieson, a character that you come to be very fond of.

Highly recommended if you like a pacy, twisty thriller!
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Behold Dead Inside, the debut crime novel from fellow blogger Noelle Holten, who as a former probation officer has put her years of experience to incredible use to come up with a dark and disturbing story of domestic abuse.

Dead Inside is the first instalment in the DC Maggie Jamieson series. She has temporarily been transferred to another unit and is forced to hit the ground running when an unsuspecting member of the public finds a dead body in the park. The victim was a convicted domestic abuser and he won’t be the last.

But this story is less about Maggie and more about Lucy Sherwood, a probation officer who deals with, well quite frankly, some serious scum of the earth. This is where Noelle Holten’s experience really shines through and all the things Lucy has to deal with on a daily basis come across as extremely realistic and believable. Outside of work, Lucy has a secret and it may just land her in deep trouble.

I must admit it took me a while to get to grips with a rather big cast of characters but once that happened, it was plain sailing all the way and this turned into quite the quickie read for me, helped along immensely by some short and snappy chapters. As you may have guessed from what I’ve said already, this isn’t always a comfortable story to read. Noelle Holten doesn’t hold back on the abuse some of these characters suffer and some of the events really chilled me to the bone.

As for the murder investigation, there was one part I figured out, although that may have just been a lucky guess. Nevertheless I felt immensely smug. However, there was something else that I didn’t quite see coming, prompting me to utter the words “nice one!” while at the same time feeling incredibly sad.

Dead Inside is a powerful debut. Extremely dark and gritty, with characters that will get under your skin, it tackles an immensely difficult topic but I dare say Noelle Holten did it sensitively and the inevitable violence required to make the story work is never gratuitous.

The ending perfectly sets the scene for the follow-up in this series and I have no doubt many a reader will be back for more from DC Maggie Jamieson. Well played, Noelle, well played!
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Dead Inside is the first in a new series of what looks like are going to be very dark and gritty thrillers/police procedurals featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.She has recently been seconded to a police unit in Staffordshire called DAMU (domestic abuse and homicide unit). Fortunately for readers like me,there wasn't pages and pages of introductions to
the police characters and Maggie getting to know her new colleagues.She quickly fitted in the team who all appeared to be a friendly group,there wasn't any unlikable characters or backstabbing that you get in a lot of police procedurals. It was fortunate that she did settle in quite quickly because she soon found herself investigating the brutal murders of three domestic abuse offenders.

Although Maggie is the main character,the investigation into the murders is the secondary aspect of this thriller as the story mainly concentrates on the lives and relashionships of various other characters including both victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse. One of the victims was probation officer Lucy Sherwood who spent her working hours dealing with perpetrators of domestic abuse and then ironically went home to Patrick, her violent,abusive husband. It is also ironic that because she is connected to all the victims through her job,she becomes a suspect in the murders after her horrible husband is murdered. Throughout the book,we got insights into the thoughts of both victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse and insights into why victims of abuse stay with their abusers. It was difficult to read this book at times,the perpetrators degrading thoughts about women,Patrick's abuse of Lucy,how charming Patrick was during his interactions with Shell,his behaviour with her being completely opposite to how he treated Lucy were shockingly realistic. There was no way that anyone could feel any sympathy for the murder victims,they were truly horrible,nasty but unfortunately very realistic and believable individuals.

It is obvious that the author has drawn on her many years in the probation service whilst writing this dark,gritty,utterly compelling thriller. It was fun reading about characters who were named after real life bloggers who I interact with on Twitter and Facebook. Because Maggie was basically a secondary character throughout most of this story,we only learnt a few basic facts about her character but we will have plenty of opportunity to get to know her properly in future volumes of this series. A brilliant start to a thrilling new series,a well written,tightly plotted debut that keeps the reader guessing. I look forward to getting to know Maggie better and reading more of her investigations. Very highly recommended.
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It is with bated breath that I attempt to write this review. As I was reading the pages of this book I felt like I was experiencing what I was reading, although nothing in this book has ever happened to me. However, for some reason, I was amazingly affected by Dead Inside. How an author, a debut author at that, could pen words that could tear my soul apart is one I am honored to read. I did have to take a break from reading for several hours. To say that this touched a cord with me is an understatement.

I find this book by Noelle Holten to have two primary characters. For starters, it is the first book in the DC Maggie Jamieson series, so she is the first. In addition, there is Lucy Sherwood, a probation officer who proved to be the catalyst for the story.

Lucy works with violent domestic abusers with hopes of keeping them in line and away from their former victims. She deals with some very rough men on a professional basis. However, it is what is happening in her private life that is a deep, dark and well-kept secret. Her marriage is not what it seems, so Lucy is forced to have two personas, and manages to live this life for quite a long time.

With regard to Maggie, she has begun a new job in a newly formed unit. After dealing with a gruesome murder case, working with domestic situations might be a bit easier for her to deal with. However, as she immediately begins her first case, it is that of a man violently murdered. In short order, other murders occur, and Maggie and her team have a difficult battle on their hands finding the killer before yet another person dies. 

Meanwhile, things are happening with Lucy - and her awful husband Patrick - that begin to shed light on some awful scenarios. As mentioned, Lucy's home life was a secret. None of her colleagues were aware of the horrors she was experiencing. Ultimately, Lucy is faced with a murder charge. Has her job, and her personal life become too much? Has she finally cracked?

As mentioned, this story was intense. It was dark, haunting and heartbreaking. The fact remains that women experience the horrors of domestic violence each and every day. I applaud Ms. Holten for writing such an effective story. As the book ends, readers are left eagerly anticipating the next book.

Many thanks to Harper Impulse, Killer Reads and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.
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It's really difficult reviewing a book written by a friend - what if it's not my thing? I needn't have worried because Dead Inside is ABSOLUTELY my thing and Ms Holten has smashed it!

If you read the "about the author" page, you will see that Noelle Holten has lots of experience in situations of domestic abuse. She uses the experience really well in Dead Inside. Her descriptions of these situations in the novel is really vivid. I was able to sense both the fear in the victims and the rage in the perpetrators, making me feel incredibly claustrophobic as I read. I often found myself looking over my shoulder.

As Dead Inside focuses heavily on the work of the probation service, the novel provides a slightly different angle to most police procedurals, which I found very interesting. Noelle Holten's experience really shines through and gives the novel its authenticity. We obviously can't forget Detective Constable Maggie Jamieson, as she is the protagonist for the whole series. She is a feisty character and I know she's only just getting started. There is a lot more to come from her and her team and I can't wait to see what it is.

The character development in Dead Inside is brilliant and I love the way that even relatively minor characters have their own back story, which reminded me of Carol Wyer, and you know how much I love her work! The keen eye for detail is great for readers who want to solve the mystery alongside the detectives.

Dead Inside is full of tension and I was totally engaged the whole way through.
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I admire authors. I really do. It must take a lot of courage to write a book because you put a lot of yourself in your writing. Whether you write fiction or non-fiction, it does not matter. You will always have mixed feelings. Will the readers like or even love or adore my book or will they be disappointed? I would not want to be in their shoes! On the other hand, of course it must be heartwarming when you read the positive comments and a bit heartbreaking when there are less good ones, but you have to keep in mind that you cannot please everyone.

It goes without a doubt that I want to love every book I read, but when you 'know' the author a bit, you secretly hope they will be succesful even more.

Dear author, let me put you out of your misery. I am convinced your will be succesful, very much, indeed! :) A debut is the hardest one, in my opinion and if this is the pace you have set for the rest of the series, bring them on!

All the way through the book you have the feeling like you were reading a true story. It must have taken a lot of research, but there must have been something more. I think it's almost impossible to add so much emotions just by doing research. When I read the acknowledgements at the end of the book, it all became crystal clear. The author used her own experiences and that makes it all more real and touching.

When I interview an author I sometimes ask them how go about finding names for their characters. Well, this is a question I can answer for myself here because I recognized some of them. Nice idea :)

So, to make a long story short (or shorter lol) : I loved the book, I was touched by it deeply and I want more, much more. I hope you are planning on making it a big series ;). 5 stars or did anyone doubt that after reading what I wrote? LOL

Thank you, Noelle Holten and Book On The Bright Side Publicity & Promo
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A good thriller with well developed characters that kept me turning the pages! Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the advanced review copy.
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I was really looking forward to this book,but I was slightly dissapointed with it. Apart from the last few chapters,the story seemed to drag on and on and I found myself skipping pages just to get the end.  The storyline was interesting, and I dint guess the culprit at all which is always good. I would give this author another go at some point in the hope of a slightly better read.
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Promising debut! The author's expertise in abuse really adds authenticity. I was a bit lost with the fact the characters bore bloggers' names.
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Noelle Holten has joined my short list of authors to always read.  This book will have an emotional impact on the reader as well as a very good mystery that you are not sure should be solved.  Abusive husbands are being killed.  The multiple murders mean a serial killer with a conscience is on the loose.  As the story progresses, Ms Holten adds more excellently defined characters that add more back story to the already well written community of investigators.  When one of the probation officers is found to be an abuse victim and then her husband is killed, it seems as if the murders are solved.  NOT SO FAST...there are a couple of twists that I did not see coming even though clues were given.  I'm really looking forward to Ms Holten's next book.
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What do you get when you cross Martina Cole with Mel Sherratt? Well, you get one of the best debut novels I’ve read this year! Noelle Holten has produced a debut novel with the brutal realism of both those authors and then added her own life experience to the mix to create a terrifying and darkly disturbing read that introduces the wonderful character creation DC Maggie Jamieson.

Now Maggie is definitely a woman you want on your side, alongside Dr Kate Maloney, her stylish and understanding gothic sidekick. But to be honest this first outing for Maggie is really Lucy’s story and so much of the story is woven around Lucys job as a probation officer which stands at odds with her personal life where she is married to a nasty piece of work who is a domestic abuser.

Noelle is a very popular and talented crime book blogger who has combined her years of experience as a probation officer and her love of crime fiction to create a believable crime thriller with a very likeable protagonist. I was kept guessing throughout as to who had murdered these men and I had no idea until it was presented to me, even with the clues that I realised in hindsight had been always been hiding there.

This is a gritty start to what promises to be an addictive new series for me to follow. And so it is therefore very highly recommended by me!
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This is a debut novel and the first in a series starring DC Maggie Jamieson.   There is a killer who is murdering domestic abusers and the domestic abuse and homicide unit are tasked with finding the killer.
I enjoyed the premise and Lucy a probation officer who is also being abused by her husband was a believable character.  It did read like Lucy was the main character though and not Maggie Jamieson.  The whole area of domestic abuse was very well written and it was clear the author had researched this.  
I would read the next book as I’m intrigued to find out more about DC Maggie Jamieson but I also liked the other characters so hope some of these will reappear in book two.
Thanks to NetGalley and Harper impulse for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Dead Inside is the first book in a new crime fiction series following Detective Constable Maggi Jamieson and her team at the Domestic Abuse and Homicide Unit (DAHU).  The author has a background working as a Senior Probation Officer and it is obvious that the author is writing about what she knows. There is great sense of authenticity to this story.

The first point to mention is the character development. The main character is Lucy, probation officer and abused wife. It’s difficult to imagine someone with such inner strength of character suffering at the hands of an abusive husband and yet, it felt real. I felt a real connection with Lucy’s character. Whilst I have always had sympathy for victims of domestic abuse, for the first time I felt that I understood how those victims allow themselves to remain in such horrendous situations, despite otherwise being strong, intelligent and logical people. Lucy’s relationship with Patrick was fascinating and thought-provoking, albeit somewhat upsetting. It worries me to think that I might know people in a similar situation who don’t feel that they can ask for help.

The addition of PC Kat Everett as a secondary character was a good move by the author. PC Everett adds a few dashes of humour to the story, with her bad language and ill-judged comments. I imagine that dealing day in and day out with victims of such crimes must sometimes make it difficult for police officers to strike the right balance between their official duties and their emotions. Gallows humour must be a common way of diffusing some very emotive situations. I felt that the author dealt with this issue subtly and sympathetically.

The second point to mention is the two-pronged plot. The first plotline is a psychological drama focusing on domestic abuse, an emotive and hard-hitting subject. It provides some insight as to how abusers get away with their actions – the psychological grip they have over their victims and the gradual increase in violence. The second plotline is a traditional murder mystery focusing on DC Jamieson’s efforts to locate the murderer of several local men.  The story quickly reeled me in and the great pace kept me hooked. It is well-paced and very tightly plotted. I must admit to being completely baffled as to who the perpetrator was. I had a few theories as the book progressed, however the ending did prove somewhat of a surprise. 

I know this review is quite short, however I am loathe to give away any details that may spoil the story – this really is one book you should read yourself!  It is a clever, tense and thought-provoking book. A dark, gritty and absolutely gripping story, with a very satisfying ending. I would happily recommend Dead Inside to anyone who enjoys a psychological drama, a gritty murder mystery or a police procedural. A brilliant debut from Noelle Holten and definitely an author to watch out for in the future – in fact I believe book 2 in the series, Dead Wrong, is due for release in November 2019!
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This was a really enjoyable book, told from different perspectives.
Lucy Sherwood is a probation officer who hides an unpleasant secret, she is a victim of domestic abuse but doesn’t feel she can leave her violent husband. DC Maggie Jamieson has been seconded to DAHU following a harrowing case she’d been dealing with.
A man is found murdered and he has a history of abuse towards women - his death is closely followed by others, all people known to the police and prison service, what is the link and who is the killer?
It was refreshing to read a police procedural story with a difference and it was a great to see the links between the services. I’m already looking forward to the next book!
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Thanks to NetGalley for an early copy in return for an honest review
A very good read and one I can highly recommend to others. 
I could not put this down.
Thoroughly enjoyable with an amazing cast of characters that you cannot help but engage with.
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