Cover Image: Dead Inside

Dead Inside

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Member Reviews

Interesting thriller, well-plotted, with strong characters. Had worked out who the serial killer was but it didn't deter from my enjoyment.. A wee bit far-stretched in places. Fans of psychological twisty thrillers will enjoy this.
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Absolutely fantastic! You’re drawn straight into the story and it’s keeps you turning pages. Sensitive subject matter - spousal abuse & alcoholism. This is one of those that you get so drawn into that before you know it, you’ve finished the book. Cannot wait for the next instalment!
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I was very excited to read Dead Inside by Noelle Holten, a fellow book blogger who writes brilliant reviews and is very well known in the book world. But I was also a little bit worried, what would I do if I didn’t like the book? Or if it was poorly written?

Of course when it came to it I didn’t have to worry, Dead Inside is a confident debut novel that is very well written and a great read.

This book is the first in the DC Maggie Jamieson series, Maggie has just transferred to a different team, one that focuses on domestic violence. She’s looking forward to the break from murder but it isn’t long before she discovers that her new role won’t be as easy as she thinks when people start dying.

Lucy Sherwood is a probation officer, by day she works with abusers who treat women terribly and she manages to stand strong and not let them intimate her. But when she goes home in the evening, Lucy is a very different person as she is living with a man who is just as bad as those she works with.

Despite this being a Maggie Jamieson novel I felt that the book was more about Lucy and she was the one that I enjoyed reading about the most. Her job is interesting and I loved hearing about her work and how she justified her home life and staying with her abusive partner. But when men linked to Lucy start dying Maggie and her team must look at her and whether she is capable of murder.

This book really kept me guessing, I couldn’t work out who was killing these men and why. There were too many people who wanted them dead and so many people appeared guilty and potentially capable of doing it.

The writing is confident and the author’s experience of working in probation clearly shows. The domestic violence angle made me think and further understand the difficulties people have and why leaving is so hard.

I am looking forward to book two, but I really hope that Lucy will be returning too.
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Thrilling read. Exciting and very fast paced. Easy to read and it was very well written. Great read that you can’t put down
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That's the million dollar question, what DOES TWG think? I'd be lying if I said that 'Dead Inside' took me ages to read, because it didn't. Far from it actually. I think I demolished the entire story in a couple of hours! One minute I was at 18%, and then the next I was updating my Goodreads to show that I had completed it! What a read! I have never, ever read anything like it before.

If you've been following this authors blog before she became an author, you'd know that she used to work in Probation. Her knowledge in that topic is extremely evident throughout the entire storyline, and I thought that that gave the story the edge that maybe some other books in this genre would be missing out on. 

'Dead Inside' is entered around domestic abuse, a topic which is very hard-hitting to read on its own, let alone being the main premise of a crime novel. Noelle Holten hasn't just dumped the topic in her book and went on her merry way, she pulled the topic to shreds and highlighted the impact that domestic abuse has on the victim, as well as the people around them. She has also laid it bare as to how manipulative abusers can be, and how they can get what they want at the click of their fingers. On a personal level, Holten nailed the emotional devastation and, whilst it took me back to a dark time in my past, I appreciated the realism. There's nothing worse than reading about a topic in a book, only to find it isn't realistic at all, and unfortunately or fortunately, whichever way you want to look at it, in this instance it is highly realistic and brilliantly done.

Now, I like a jam-packed novel as much as the next person, but for me, I felt that there was too much going on at times. Not only did the storyline cover abuse, it also covered murder, psychological issues, coercive control, blended families, drugs and alcohol abuse. I couldn't keep up at times with the to-ing and fro-ing between each situation, as well as the snippets from different points of view, and so forth. I can appreciate that all of the topics were related to the storyline and what the author was trying to achieve, but I think I would have been less dizzy if there were a few less things to focus on, instead putting more detail into the other sections. But that's just me.

Overall, I was very impressed by the strength of Noelle Holten's debut novel - she clearly has the talent there to hook her readers and leave them wanting more, and I think that her background has helped to put her novel a cut above the rest. 'Dead Inside' is such an intense, fast paced, gripping read which left me really annoyed when it had finished - I wanted more! Looks like Noelle Holten is now an author to watch!!
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This was a good fast-paced mystery that kept you on your toes throughout! The characters, and especially the descriptions of domestic violence and the feelings of both the victims and the perpetrators were well fleshed out and empathetic. There were a few brief points in the text that were a bit convoluted in wording or seemed to jump a bit (mainly in the questions of the detectives), but these did not detract from the overall story.
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I had been eagerly awaiting the release of this book and I was delighted when my copy arrived shortly after midnight on release day!  I love the cover for this book, it is certainly very striking and it really caught my attention.

I thought that the plot was excellent, you can really see how the author has pulled on her professional and private experiences to make a well crafted story that has genuine and believable characters.  I thought that Lucy was great and at times I really felt for her.  I wasn't a huge fan of DC Maggie Jamieson but I am hoping she will grow on me as the series progresses but there were plenty of other characters that I did like though which made up for that, and after all, you can't like everyone!

The pace for the book was good and whilst at times the subject matter wasn't the easiest to read, the book was well written and it had a good flow to the story.  I did guess who was responsible part way though the book but it didn't really detract from my enjoyment and the ending was spot on for me.

It is 4.5 stars from me for this one rounded up to 5 stars for Amazon and Goodreads, it is a very impressive debut and I am already looking forward to the next book in the series!!  Very highly recommended!!
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Pretty good start...

This had a good premise and interesting characters. Unfortunately, way too many interesting characters. I think maybe the author was trying to lay down the groundwork for the future but she could have held some of it back. It got a bit confusing and weighed down an otherwise good story. 

Lucy’s parts were heartbreaking, really hard to read. Maggie, the series focus, wasn’t really fleshed out in this premiere. And what I did see of her I wasn’t enamored. Who goes into their first day at a job and quickly interrupts their bosses presentation before even meeting him (someone either very stupid or very egotistical)? I think she is meant to come across as very smart and capable but with the limited insight so far she comes across as inflated. I’m sure it will even out as it goes along...

The workings of the system, how they connect and the players were interesting. It is obvious that the author has first hand knowledge. Some reviewers thought there was too much victim background but I thought that part was interesting and gave insight to how this happens. 

The conclusion was quite good and we are left with a good cliffhanger for the next. I think this series has great potential. 

Thanks to NetGalley, the author and Harper Impulse and Killer Reads for a copy in exchange for a review.
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For years I had wanted to read a book which featured a probation officer, and this one certainly did that. Having worked in this area of criminal justice, I found the language and job description, and day to day duties familiar. The author certainly bringing her years of experience to the book, maybe not reflecting the majority of probation officers feelings, but certainly a few. However there were lots and lots of spelling errors, it was a choppy read, and I didn't quite get on with the lead character, but it was something a bit different and I will read the next book written by her as she will have had chance to iron out any issues by then. Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me the chance to read this book.
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Absolutely fantastic book!!!! A page turner with twists the whole way through.  Fantastic characters and a superb plot! Can't wait for the next one !!!!!
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There's no better feeling for a bookworm than finding a new author whose debut novel is the start of a new series. As soon as I started reading Dead Inside I knew this was going to be right up my street.

Lucy Sherwood is a probation officer dealing with domestic abuse offenders but at home behind closed doors she's hiding a secret.

When three of the offenders are murdered it's a race against time for DC Maggie Jamieson to catch the killer but then a fourth victim is found and this one is much closer to home.

Can Maggie and her team solve the case before there's another murder? 

This was an outstanding debut, extremely well written with the author's personal experience with the Probation Service shining through.

This has been one of the best crime novels I've read in a long time and I'll wait with baited breath for Book 2 later this year. 

Many thanks to Netgalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review. #DeadInside
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Amazing debut!  4-5 stars!  Also one of heck of beginning to a series, I look forward to reading more of.  Written with such precision and suspense, I was shocked it was a debut.  Very chilling, thrilling, and shocking!  
Will absolutely recommend to the members of Chapter Chatter Pub!
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This is Noelle Holten’s debut novel introducing DC Maggie Jamieson who has joined the Domestic Abuse and Homicide Unit in Staffordshire, a multi-agency team dealing with abuse and homicide.  This involves working with criminal psychologist, Dr Kate Moloney and Lucy Sherwood from the probationary service.  When three men with a history of violence and abuse are found murdered it transpires that Lucy is the probation officer dealing with all the victims.

A brilliant, brilliant book.  Well written with a great plot although sometimes harrowing.  It gives a great insight into the subject of domestic abuse from all angles.  I thoroughly recommend it and await further news from Ms Holten.

Thank you to the author, publishers and NetGalley for providing an ARC via my Kindle in return for an honest review.
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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!
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What an absolutely outstanding debut this is. People always say write about something you know and boy Noelle Holten must have been an exceptional Probation Officer. The characters have been so confidently written about that they have a solidness about them, their actions, feelings and at times pure helplessness about the whole system. There are a lot of characters in the book but the chapters keep them clustered in ways that they are easy to remember.
DC Maggie Jamieson finds that not only is she facing tracking a serial killer down who is savagely murdering known wife beaters, but that one of her friends and colleagues is soon going to be part of the investigation. So far the victims had been known to the team but when Lucy’s husband becomes victim number four it really knocks them all.
This gives the story views on both sides of the fence on how an abused victim covers up their life behind closed doors. It is extremely emotional like she is two people, but someone that as a reader you immediately connect with and want to protect.
It was quite an experience to venture into the mind of Patrick and I must admit that I felt smaller in each chapter that he appeared as he really had his act down to a fine art. I felt clammy, cold and physically sick that someone could think like this never mind follow up on his thoughts.
The story, of course, has many triggers which could make some readers distressed, that include rape in marriage, physical and mental abuse.
I received an e-copy of this book for the blog tour, which I have reviewed honestly. A stunning debut, eager for the next in the series.
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Great start to a new series!  I cannot wait to read more not only from this series, but from this author.  The twists were well timed and written.
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Dead Inside is a brilliantly crafted novel that's fast-paced, punchy and intriguing.

Although it featured detectives and police, and various cases which were being investigated (violent abusive men who've been murdered - is there a link?), it felt to me more of an intense mystery/ drama than your usual crime novel. This is in part because the characters felt so well fleshed out and very convincing, so I could feel myself completely sucked into the story, finishing this in no time at all.

Dead Inside is an easy, quick read in terms of language, because the plot and writing flows so well, but the subject matter gets pretty dark and disturbing at times; obviously it centers around abuse and violence within relationships, so this is to be expected, but some parts made me feel SO angry and indignant for the women who were abused - particularly Lucy who I really liked - that I felt myself wanting to scream at the men within its pages. It takes some skilled writing to evoke such strong emotions, and I felt this demonstrated what a great writer Noelle is.

I can't believe this is a debut novel, as I enjoyed it so much and would happily read many more - so I'm already looking forward to book number 2! Addictive, compelling and definitely dark.
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o I closed the page and I messaged Noelle straight away and said OMFG!! Yes, she got one, well, in fact, she got quite a few! It is always so intense and slight nerve-wracking not only for the author but for the reader when it is a book you are reading of someone you have been getting to know. What if you don’t like the book? What if you don’t think that they have what it takes? To be honest I am more nervous about my review not doing it justice than I was reading the book!!!!!

Well, let me tell you something! She nailed it! And if you were not sure, she hammers it home over and over just to make a point that you know she nailed it!

Dead Inside is not always an easy ride or read, where we are facing domestic abuse in so much detail you find yourself scream loudly at the book. (Just don’t do this if you are reading outside you might get some funny looks!) Certain events in the story were so heartbreaking for some characters, and you wonder why people stay. So many different reasons are banded about in the book but there are no right or wrong reasons.

Although this is the Maggie Jamison series, this was by far the Lucy show! This woman stole the limelight and ran away with it. She captivated my heart, through her strength even at her lowest moments. Her kindness shone through and helped someone at the end make a relatively difficult decision to atone. You can understand her reasoning for a lot of things and you just want to wrap her up in cotton wool and never let anyone hurt her. There was one scene with Lucy that almost destroyed me. The emptiness she felt, I felt. My heart literally broke in a million pieces. This is the power that Noelle and her writing will have over you!!

Maggie, well I quite liked her, a secret stick of dynamite. We are only given hints to her past that haunts her and a case called the Raven. All in good time we know a little bit more, and I can tell she is a force to be reckoned with. She sees things slightly different to everyone else and times she can be blunt and not care and others she is sympathetic and caring, the balance seems just right.

And yes there are a whole host of names from the blogging world which made me smile. One I might not be able to look at the same way lol.

I do not want to say anything about the plot bar what is in the blurb. Even then I did not read it when I picked up the book, I went in completely dark I didn’t want anything to ruin my enjoyment of this book. I didn’t want to read anything that could potentially be a spoiler.

You really wouldn’t know that this was a debut book, I felt like Holten has already crafted her skill and her darkness and that she has been doing this for years. I was completely absorbed by her writing. I couldn’t be distracted when I was reading Dead Inside and I did not want to be. She knows how to make you care and how to make you hate with all the venom that you can in your heart. Because she definitely got all the emotions from me! I spent a lot of the time raging before my heart ached for some characters. There is no remorse for some people and it was palpable in scenes where they were oblivious to their actions and the pain being caused…in walked my anger to the room!

There are different threads running parallel throughout the book kept you on the edge of your seat. It didn’t get confusing, just when something was happening in one thread you would be teased by the chapter switching to a different character, a different scenario and would lead you to speeding through the book to find out what was going on. I felt like I had a satisfying ending to the Dead Inside, I don’t think I could ask for anything better….oh wait I can! Not to bloody end! I seriously didn’t want it to end! It really is like being on your favourite rollercoaster and never wanting the ride to end. You may know how it will end but it’s not without surprises throughout the journey. It is fast paced, especially with the short snappy chapter that keeps you just that little bit on edge as you wait for the next revelation, the next incident and the next time you might need to scream.

As wrong as this sounds, a book about domestic abuses and serial killers, but I bloody loved it! I loved it so much so, that I have pre-ordered the next book in the series Dead Wrong and I can’t wait to see Maggie Jamieson again and Dr Kate Moloney. The dynamic between these two was fab. I just hope we see Lucy again! Plus there might be another familiar name in the next book #justsaying. It is definitely in my top books for the year!!

Please do yourself a favour and buy this book! Put an afternoon aside and devour the words in front of you because you will not want to put the book down once you have started.
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I’m so excited to be reviewing this! Noelle is one of the loveliest people (and a fellow animal lover) so I couldn’t wait to read her debut novel and I was not disappointed!

We meet Probation Officer Lucy who, on a day to day today basis has to deal with domestic abusers…but one by one her clients are turning up brutally murdered….Is she a suspect? Why would she commit these crimes? And what dark secrets of her own is she harbouring?

DC Maggie Jamieson has just joined the DAHU team from the murder squad….and on her first day has to deal with a murder….and then they keep coming! But why did she leave the murder squad? And will she be able to find out who the serial killer is before someone innocent takes the blame?

I was completely gripped by this story! I fell in love with Lucy from the beginning, who is the loveliest person but she has her own secrets that she’s trying to keep covered up.  I really wanted her to share them and really wanted her to be happy!

Maggie is fantastic and does a brilliant job, alongside Criminal Psychologist, Dr Moloney (who is also new to the team) in pulling together the facts of the case, and uncovering the bits that might make a difference.  The other supporting cast, especially Mark and Sarah were brilliant.  I loved that there were some names in there that I recognised (Sarah Hardy!) which really made me smile.

The story is well written and easy to follow.  There are a number of characters who have mini stories going on and I loved this.  Each of the characters bought out different emotions in me….some I hated (and could willingly punch in the face!), others I just wanted to give them a kick up the bum and tell them to sort themselves out!

This is a bloody brilliant debut which is well paced, with a fantastic ending! Noelle covers the sensitive subject of domestic abuse brilliantly, and it really makes you think about those it affects in real life.

If your looking for something that you won’t want to put down and will have you completely engaged, then this is the book for you! Highly recommended by me, and now I can’t wait for book 2!!!! Hurry up Noelle!
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Wow! Wow! Wow!

This is a brilliant debut novel from Noelle Holten. 

DC Maggie Jamieson finds herself working on the toughest case she’s ever been on. 

I found it totally fascinating to see the probation side of things when Lucy manages and keeps tabs on prisoners who are released and the author obviously knows her stuff in this area. Lucy is very together and great at her job but who knows what goes on behind closed doors in her own house and away from work. 

There are a lot of characters in the book, but they all settled into their roles reasonably early in the book, so you knew who was who and they all pulled together well and all had their important roles to play in a team of people who were put together, in their latest case, to solve the murders of three people who are accused of domestic violence. When the fourth is found, Lucy’s connection seems to be more than just a coincidence and cannot be ignored. 

It was so interesting to be involved in the probation side of things where Lucy’s job as a probation officer is to manage and keep tabs on prisoners who have been locked up for abusive behaviour and are then released and the author obviously knows her stuff in this area.

Lucy’s partner Patrick was probably one of the worst characters I’ve ever read in a book. Vile man! I found myself shouting at Lucy in parts, but also sympathising with her and understanding why she did what she did.  To provoke such reaction towards a character is brilliant. I’m sure there are many people out there that might like to get their hands on Patrick!

And that ending! Well! That took me by surprise. I had no clue it was that person who did it! Completely threw me! 

Dead Inside was twisty, gripping and compelling!

Dark, disturbing and deep.

And those pages turned all by themselves! 

I cannot wait to read more of this exciting new series. Bring on Book 2 Noelle! As soon as you can please!
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