Cover Image: Dead Inside

Dead Inside

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Member Reviews

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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This is really gripping and sometimes very emotionally difficult book to read. The main character Lucy works as a probation officer dealing with difficult men on their release from prison. As well as having a stressful job she has a particularly stressful home life as well. She lives with an abusive husband who seems to make it his life mission to put Lucy down and make her feel as small as he possibly can. 

Lucy is one of those characters that you can’t help but feel sympathy towards and it’s a scenario that happens all too frequently. As I was reading the book I was desperately hoping that Lucy would find the strength and support to get herself out of what seems like an impossible situation. 

As well as Lucy we also follow Maggie, a police officer seconded to a special division within the force currently investigating the deaths of various abusive men. In this way we see the story from multiple angles, the characters who are dealing with domestic abuse, the characters working within the probation service, and the characters within the police force. They all have their part to play in making this book. 

This is a book that covers a very sensitive subject but has been handled very well and with great thought. You can tell the author has clearly done her research and knows her stuff. There are some very difficult scenes to read about but necessary at the same time as it creates the full picture of the story the author is trying to tell here. Domestic abuse is not nice and if a book was written without these scenes then it wouldn’t be true to reality. 

Considering this is a debut book from the author I was really impressed and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. The writing is gripping and I was pulled into the story from the first chapter and invested in what was going to happen with the characters.
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Dead Inside introduces us to DC Maggie Jamieson who has been brought into the Domestic Abuse and Homicide Unit (DAHU) from the murder team and is immediately drawn into an investigation into the brutal death of someone on probation. There are 2 sides to this story, the police investigation as well as the role of the probation service through Lucy’s character which is fascinating. The author spent 18 years in the probation service which she clearly draws on for this book so it feels extremely authentic and demonstrates the relationship and tension between the police force and the probation service. 

The author has tackled an extremely difficult subject head on with sensitivity but realism, she has been very careful in portraying the reality of living with domestic abuse without crossing the line into making the book unreadable. There are difficult scenes portrayed within this book, as you would expect, but they are necessary to the story and being true to those who live through this. 

There are a lot of characters in this book so the first few chapters are quite intense with all the introductions but the varied combination of characters works really well in showing the various people that the police have to liaise with on a daily basis and the combined expertise that goes into murder investigations. 

The writing is slick and gripping right from the prologue (the author certainly doesn’t ease her reader in!!) – it is very addictive, encouraging the reader to keep flying through the chapters. I enjoyed the author’s writing style and the emotion that came through the narrative. Noelle Holten has created memorable characters (some in better ways than others) who are well developed. I was particularly intrigued by Lucy’s character as she is literally a different person at work than she is at home – at work she is dealing with difficult characters all day every day in her capacity as probation officer but as soon as she leaves, she is a different person, broken down to a shell of herself by her abusive husband. The scenes between Lucy and her husband are a hard read, full of raw emotion demonstrating the life behind closed doors of an abusive relationship – absolutely heart-breaking. 

I really look forward to reading the next book in the series and seeing what the author has next up her sleeve. If Dead Inside is anything to go by, this is set to be an amazing series!!
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This is the first in the D.C Maggie series . Maggie is featured in this book a lot but Lucy is the main character..
Lucy is a probation officer who try’s to keep control of abusive men when they are released from prison.Bit she is also a battered wife. She works along side the police . Maggie has just joined the D.A.H.U ( Domestic Abuse and Homicide Unit ) , Then three abusive men are killed the police are not getting anywhere quick . Lucy worked with the three men was she involved with the killings ?Then Lucy’s husband is killed and Lucy is arrested for the murders. Did she do it ?
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I had anticipated this book was going to be good, I just didn't realize how flipping fantastic it was going to be. OMG I loved it! It was way darker than I expected and that is a winner in my book. The graphic details just made this book really stand out in my mind. Noelle Holten knocked it out of the park with this debut. 

Admittedly police procedural series are not my favorite go to books, but yet I had to get my hands on this one. What I loved about this is the fine balance between police procedural and the characters lives. I think the author found a fantastic line between the two and gave me everything I was looking for in a book. We have the depth of great character development and yet the shock and horror of the crime scenes. It just gives me a chill thinking back to those crime scenes! Brutal murder after murder are occurring and yet they all have something in common...or shall I say someone in common... 

Our focus is not only on solving these gruesome murders but also on the life of Lucy Sherwood a probation officer. I feel that this book was so relatable because it showed a clear connection in how you never know what a person is going through. I find that in life many people pick a profession based on their personal experience. Lucy deals with domestic abuse a great deal in her everyday work. Yet she is dealing with her own dark, twisted  abusive relationship in her private life. She knows she needs to get out but it is not as easy as one would think. She finds herself falling into the cycle of abuse day after day to her monster of a husband Patrick. Does Lucy finally snap? Is she seeking redemption for the victims at the hands of these predators that she deals with everyday? 

The research and personal experience was very evident in this debut novel. Brilliant writing, edge of seat terrifying details! ,  The graphic details of the physical and psychological abuse pulled me right in. Both were welcomed by me and I felt necessary to truly understand and being able to empathize with what the victims where going through. I found it an enthralling read that I could not put down. I was shocked towards the ending as I did not see it coming and I feel we were left with a great ending that could lead us right into book number 2! I can't wait to see what Noelle has in store for us next! I highly recommend getting your hands on Dead Inside (perfect title by the way). Just plan on pulling an all nighter and having a hell of a book hangover!
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A cracking read! DC Maggie Jamieson – you and I are going to get along just fine.

Maggie Jamieson has been moved, temporarily, to a new team after dealing with a particularly harrowing case in the murder team she was part of. DAHU is an amalgamation of several services wit the aim of assisting and protecting abused partners; as fate would have it, Maggie’s first day finds her investigating a murder .. swiftly followed by the discovery of a further two bodies. With the department under immense pressure to get a result – and quickly – it’s down to good old fashioned detective work to get to the bottom of things.

This is an accomplished and well-paced piece of writing; a good solid story which focuses on the crime and teases the reader with the barest of facts about Maggie’s home life. The characters are all well-drawn, entirely believable and it is a thriller you can really immerse yourself in and give your grey matter a good workout pondering on who the murderer is! I did have a someone in mind, and it turned out I was right – but there is so much more to come after that. A fine, satisfying read and an absolutely stunning debut novel. This is definitely and author – and a series – I intend to follow, and together they have easily earned a full five stars!
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With her debut novel, Noelle Holten has written a taut and gripping thriller that any seasoned writer should be envious of. 

Lucy Sherwood is a probation office working with domestic violence offenders. In her professional life Lucy is firmly in control, but her personal life she is under the control of her abusive partner, Patrick. Reluctant to leave Patrick’s daughter and the family home, Lucy tries desperately to cope with the increasing spiral of drinking and escalating violence. Maggie Jamieson is a Detective newly assigned to the Domestic Evidence Unit. She’s still finding her feet when a man is brutally murdered. The police are still trying to figure out a motive when another murder quickly follows. It seems the killer is targeting abusers and the evidence is starting to point towards one person in particular. 

This is a fantastic book. The author obviously knows her stuff when it comes to the patterns of domestic abuse and how the police and probation service deal with offenders. The viewpoint switches between several different characters and it gives the reader an insight into the thought processes of the abuser and the victim blaming mentality they have. The drinking culture of the local pub is shown to be a massive part of this as damaged characters coming together under the influence of alcohol ends as badly as you’d expect. The book felt really raw and real and the characters talk like real people and not cliches. It’s almost a police procedural at points but also has elements of a thriller and a crime novel too. It’s a brutal subject matter and a hard read at points but I enjoyed this book immensely. Noelle Holten is a real talent and an exciting addition to the raft of fantastic British crime writers out there at the moment. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who likes crime novels. A simply fantastic book. 

I received a ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for a fair review.
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I am on the struggle bus lately with books. The last 2 I have had the worst trouble with.

I couldn’t seem to get into this one from page 1. There were WAYYYY to many characters to keep up with that I lost interest way too fast. I finally decided at 43% to DNF 😔 I skimmed the rest and jumped to the end to find out “who done it” and I’m kind of underwhelmed.

I’ve always felt like such a jerk leaving a bad review for a book that someone worked SO hard to write but I’ve realized lately that it’s a form of art and not everyone is going to love every book and that it’s ok to feel differently about a book.
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I know Noelle Holten as a blogger and blog tour organizer for a very long time, and was very excited to read her very first book. Her debut is Dead Inside, a police procedural with DC Maggie Jamieson as a main character.

The story starts like this:

One domestic abuser is dead. Brutally killed. Then another one. And another one.  DC Maggie Jamieson and her team have full hands job to do. Who is taking the justice in their own hands?

Lucy is a probation officer, but also suffers domestic violence at home. She works with domestic abusers and their victims, but she can’t get out from her own circle of abuse. There are many reasons to leave, but she also finds many reasons to stay. She hopes to see  more of Dr Jekyll than Mr Hyde in her husband.

Shell is woman who once suffered domestic abuse. But, now, she is lonely and wants to feel loved. She thinks she has learned her lesson not to involve herself with certain type of men, but loneliness is a strange thing. Can she trust the man who flatters her?

There is very little information about DC Maggie Jamieson. She is tranferred from another department and still recovers from the previous case. Her relationship with her brother is not the best, she is tired to play the big sister all the time.

The main theme of the story is domestic violence. The author slowly introduces us in the world of an abused victim. It never starts suddenly, but slowly one step after another. The mind of an abused victim is not like the one watching the party from a side. There is negation, denial, giving excuses and hope to never happen again. But it does, over and over again.

Dead Inside is a mix of psychological thriller and police procedural. At least, that was the way I felt about it. There were too many characters (according to me) and there were moments when it was hard for me to follow the story. Sometimes I was wondering if Lucy was the main character or Maggie. But in the second half of the book there were twists (a lot) and the ending was quite unexpecting.  What started like a domestic abuse story, ended like a high profile thriller. A great start for a debut author.

My actual rating: 3,5.
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It is time to make room for another Queen of crime fiction because DEAD INSIDE by Noelle Holten is a masterpiece of deception and suspense and I'm already chomping at the bit to read the next book from this brilliant new author.

Lucy Sherwood's job as a Probation Officer can take a lot out of her but she knows that she is good at it and she needs the paycheque especially since her husband is out of work and drinking heavily as usual. You would think she should know better than to stay with an abuser but there are her stepchildren to consider and some days are ok. And then he is murdered and suddenly Lucy finds herself at the centre of the investigation.

When bodies are discovered, a new team of Police Officers is ready to hunt down the killer, even if the victims are abusers and criminals in their own right. For DC Maggie Jamieson it is a chance to step away after a particularly hard case and focus in a different area but as the search for the killer ramps up, can Maggie and her co-workers figure out the truth before it is too late? 

​Compelling, terrifying, and utterly unputdownable, DEAD INSIDE by Noelle Holten brings domestic abuse and its impact to the forefront and while it isn't always an easy read, it is such an important one. Lucy is a complex character as she is so strong, independent and determined at work, and yet so vulnerable and afraid at home with her husband that it seems to be an enigma but the more you get to know Lucy, the more you understand her and empathise with her while willing her to get out. 

I loved getting to know this new team of crime-fighting detectives and police officers and as this is the first book from this author, I cannot wait to learn even more about them in the next book. 

There are plenty of suspects in this crime fiction novel and I enjoyed trying to piece it all together myself and there were so many moments when I was sure I had it figured out but then was thrown by something on the next page. 

DEAD INSIDE by Noelle Holten is simply superb and if you buy one book this year make it this one!!!!!!!!!!
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Loved this book. Great storyline and very informative on domestic abuse. Sime really good characters whom I hope we see again. 

I figured out who was the killer, and that's alright. But then, Noelle, that little sneak, threw in a twist.  Loved it. 
 Looking forward to book two.
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What a great debut! The story moves quickly, and delves deeply into the complications and fallout of domestic abuse. The topic is timely and important, and the book is highly entertaining. I can't wait to see what the author has in store next! Many thanks to the author,the publisher, and NetGalley for the ARC.
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Only in crime fiction is it socially acceptable to wish for the death of a person.  This was how reading Dead Inside by debut author Noelle Holten made me feel.  Domestic abuse is a dark and sensitive subject and it is dealt with sympathetically in this compelling thriller.  When three domestic abusers are found murdered, the connection is quickly ascertained to be Lucy, their Probation Officer.  Which is also clear, is that Lucy is hiding a secret, but is it what they expect.  I'm looking forward to reading the next novel in this series.  4 stars
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I’ll readily admit that the world of domestic abuse and brutal murder is one where I rarely venture. But I do enjoy a well crafted story that makes me want to keep turning the pages while keeping me a few steps behind the pace in terms of outcome – and when a book is this very well written, the reading can only be a pleasure.

Dead Inside is the first book in a new series, and takes us inside the Staffordshire DAHU (Domestic Abuse and Homicide Unit): it’s a new unit, and the story features the early days of DC Maggie Jamieson who will be the focus for the ongoing series. She doesn’t really draw your eye in this first book though – and I’m sure that will change as the series builds – but that’s mainly because of the proliferation of other strongly drawn characters who eclipse her a little.

Perhaps the most fascinating and engaging is Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood – her professional front, dealing daily with angry clients and ever present danger, is in stark contrast with her home life, where she’s entirely cowed by the intimidating and aggressive Patrick, hiding his repeated violent attacks from young daughter Siobhan. The author handles that dichotomy exceptionally well – her own background brings a real authenticity to the workings of the Probation Service, and the terror she experiences in the home setting is palpable.

Maggie’s involvement turns from a single murder case to the investigation of a serial killer – the victims all known to Lucy, professionally or otherwise, and that accusing finger begins to point.

Other than Maggie and Lucy, there are few characters in this book that you will like – and it’s difficult to build much sympathy with the murder victims, however gruesome their ends. But every single character, however despicable, is superbly drawn. In many cases you might actually prefer not to get under their skin – it’s not a very pleasant place to be – but you have very little choice. I was struck by how authentic these dreadful characters were – while your sympathy might be lacking, along with your understanding of their behaviours, they’re never less than 100% real, and that’s quite an achievement.

The plot is real edge-of-the-seat stuff, as you’d expect it to be – with all the blind alleys and false trails that only add to the tension. I’m useless at predicting endings, although I did with this one – but only because it had to be one of the half dozen people I’d put in the frame, just in case I’d got it wrong.

I might not return for the rest of the series – I don’t think my nerves will take it – but I must say that I thought it was a really exceptional first novel. I suspect that future outings for Maggie and her team will be compulsory reading for the many fans of the genre – an excellent read, and a writer with real talent.

(Review copied to Amazon UK, but link not yet available)
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This is a gritty portrayal of domestic abuse, the author drawing on her years of experience in the Probation Service. To anyone who thinks domestic abuse doesn't happen to educated, employed women holding down challenging jobs then this book shows it can and does happen to anyone from all walks of life. Lucy Sherwood is the last person you would think of as a victim yet she has her own reasons for not leaving her husband.  The pace is just right, allowing us to empathise and then in the next chapter wonder if she is actually a murderer. This is a well-written psychological thriller that a seasoned author would be proud of - hard to believe this is a debut novel.
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I had been looking forward to reading this debut from Noelle for so long, and so was hugely excited when it arrived. But a little anxious for her too. What if it wasn't very good? What if I didn't like it? Of course, I needn't have worried. It's fab.

Maggie Jamieson has just transferred to the Domestic Abuse and Homicide Unit (DAHU) and is immediately pulled into the murder investigation of a known domestic abuser. Two other killings quickly follow and the victims are again known abusers. All three have links to Lucy Sherwood, a probation officer, whose husband becomes the fourth victim.

Although this is the first in a series featuring Maggie Jamieson, I felt this was very much Lucy's story. I really liked Lucy. She's focused, composed, good at her job and liked by colleagues and her liaison within the police. But at home, behind closed doors, she's the victim of abuse at the hands of her husband Patrick. I found some of these scenes hard to read. I am lucky never to have experienced anything like this, but it seemed very real. I know that sadly the author does have personal experience and I think that knowledge is evident in the writing. It also goes some way towards answering the question "Why doesn't she just leave?" . The answer is because it's never that simple, and this comes across clearly in the book. Work is an escape for Lucy, an opportunity for her to be the confident version of herself, where she doesn't even use her married name. I can't remember another book that talks about the probation service in any great detail, and here the author's experience as a probation officer shines through.

There are a lot of characters featured in the story, particularly early on, and I did struggle a bit with that. Made me smile, though, seeing names I recognised! Characters, other than Lucy, who stood out for me were Patrick, simply because he was so detestable, Rory, who broke my heart a little bit and Mark, a man with strong opinions but kind intentions. I loved his sweet friendship with Lucy, and hope to read more about that in the future.

Although there is a lot of detail given about the characters, I definitely feel I still need to get to know Maggie Jamieson better. There was so much going on in the story, a lot of which is centred around Lucy, that I feel there is still much to learn about Maggie. I'm sure that will change in future books.

As I mentioned earlier, Maggie is thrown straight into the murder investigation, and from there, things never really let up. There is plenty of action, and the story is fast paced throughout. The descriptions given about the murders are detailed enough, but never over the top. We follow the police investigation and Lucy is soon a suspect, but Maggie just has a feeling that she didn't do it. I saw some of the ending coming, but definitely didn't guess all of it, and it made for emotional reading.

This is a strong debut, and a great beginning to a new series. Noelle's experience shines through in her writing, and she has delivered a story that feels authentic. I can't wait to see what happens next!
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As a debut novel, Noelle Holten did a pretty good job. Dead Inside is about domestic abuse and murder.

This is a whodunnit story with lots of suspects and is quite graphic in detail which can be disturbing at times.

The story itself was very well written, but sometimes I did get confused with who was who as there are a lot of characters within the book, However, I do recommend you read Dead Inside as this author has a lot of promise with her future books.
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I enjoyed this book and characters but I guessed early on who the culprit was which dropped this to a 4 star review. It was a good premise of nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors. I would definitely read her next novel and recommend this one. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the chance to review it.
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To an onlooker, Lucy’s life is perfect. A family she adores at home, loving husband, sweet step-daughter. A job she navigates everyday with patience and care. But this is just an illusion. A pretty picture. As a probation officer, every day she works with vile criminals and sees the horrendous abuse they are responsible for. Lives that are ruptured and ruined within mere moments. Lasting effects that make simple living impossible to bare. She knows this not only from a professional point of view, but a personal one too. When she leaves work, she doesn’t leave the monsters behind. Any love or respect drained out of her relationship a long time ago. And now she lives in fear of what Patrick will do next. 

DC Maggie Jamieson and her team are investigating a spate of disappearances. As the tension ratchets up, so does the tally. When the next man goes missing, all eyes will be looking at Lucy. But who is telling the truth? Who is responsible? And can Maggie find them?

The prologue gives the reader a taste of what can be expected from the rest of the book: a dark, gritty, powerful read that is compelling, gripping and unforgettable. I was awash with emotion all the way through it. The author depicts her characters feelings with such searing intensity, it’s tangible to the reader. This is a very dark book that examines themes of abuse but it is handled with honesty and care throughout. The author writes with exquisite tension and kept me on my toes until the very end. Goodness me!!! Without a doubt one of my absolute favourite reads of the year!!

This is the first in the DC Maggie Jamieson series and, based on this book, I can only imagine how far this series is going to FLY!! A brilliant introduction! Can’t wait to read more!! I loved seeing so many familiar names in the book (if you’re a part of the blogging community, you’ll know who I mean!) it put a big cheesy grin on my face!! Dead Inside is a first-rate, top-notch thriller! Way to go, Noelle!!

Emotional. Tense. Spectacular.
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