Dead Inside

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 10 Sep 2019

Member Reviews

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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Lucy Sherwood is a Probation Officer who works with domestic abusers on their release from prison. She and others in her team work closely with the police unit DAHU (Domestic Abuse & Homicide Unit). DC Maggie Jamieson is seconded to the team and her first case is three murders which seem to be connected and they are all Lucy's clients. The author has drawn on her own experience, as an ex probation officer and the story is very true to life and gritty (it reminds me of earlier Mel Sherratt books).

Lucy is trying to keep her family together and not let her work find out about the abuse she's suffering under the hand of her husband, Patrick. Siobhan, his daughter spends a lot of time with them and Lucy tries to shield her from the worst of his rages. Rory, his son is tentatively getting to know his dad again too...

Could Lucy be the killer? When the situation takes another turn things look very bleak for her indeed...

It's a twisty fast paced read with interesting characters I'm looking forward to meeting again (well some of them!) in book 2.. Would recommend.
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I don’t suppose there would be too many people shedding a tear when a domestic abuser is found murdered however in this debut thriller, DC Maggie Jamieson has a mammoth task on her hands when the body count keeps rising from a killer who covers their tracks extremely well. 

Interwoven with the police investigation is the story of Lucy, a probation officer, and because of her job, is well known to the members of the police investigation team.  Dealing with offenders, including these domestic abusers, gives Lucy a clear connection with the murder victims.  Outwardly Lucy would seem to be the last person that might be a suspect however she has a secret of her own which she is desperately trying to hide from her colleagues.  

Being a former probation officer, the author clearly had this story nailed.  There was enough detail of procedure for authenticity without being overwhelming but more importantly, the story was interesting, with just the right amount of intrigue and pace and left you finishing each chapter keen to know what happened next.  I did have a few suspects in mind and there were some really nasty characters who I was hoping would come to a sticky end. 

There are a lot of characters to get to grips with fairly quickly at the beginning of the story, and it took me a little while to remember who was working in which area. I did think at one stage that the story seemed to be mainly about Lucy and I wondered when Maggie was going to feature more but once she did, she certainly made her mark.  She was the ‘newbie’ in the DAHU (Domestic Abuse and Homicide Unit – a newly created team which is having to prove itself), having been transferred from another police unit and it didn’t take her long to find her feet.  I thought she was a great character, she was tactful but decisive in handling difficult colleagues, and I would certainly like to see her feature in future stories.  She clearly has a backstory with a previous case which is teasingly referred to – I can’t wait to read more about this! 

Domestic abuse is a very difficult subject to write about, especially the effect it has on the victims, but the author has carried this off with sensitivity. There is some violence in the story, there has to be for the story to work, but it is not gratuitous and never over the top.

Dead Inside is a very strong debut which deserves great success. I look forward to reading more from this very talented author.
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Debut novel from Holten and it was a mixed bag for me.  It's a story of vicious domestic abuse where 3 of the abusers are murdered, and all 3 of them are known to Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood, who is also being terribly abused, both physically and emotionally, by her dead end husband.  A whodunnit with LOTS of suspects but be warned as the author doesn't pull any punches in describing the domestic abuse in graphic detail.  The story itself was actually very well written but I struggled with the  high number of characters in the book as I found it hard at times to keep them all straight.
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Thanks to net galley, Harper Collins, and Noelle Holden  for this ARC . As much is I wanted to like this book because I think it was meant to be a dark thriller, I totally got lost pretty much from beginning to almost the end. I was confused as the author would name her characters by titles and last names, and then she would  go on to give first names for the same people , that’s where I got confused. I had to keep going back-and-forth to see  who  is who. All in all, I enjoyed the premise and I think if it could’ve been condensed a little bit, and made a little bit more precise  with certain people and in certain areas,  it might have worked better for me .
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Nothing makes me more excited than reading a debut and when it’s an exciting, dark and incredibly well written debut? Then I’m over the moon! Dead Inside surely fit the bill and although I had been eagerly awaiting this book for what feels like forever, it was well worth the wait in the end.

I love a book with a large ensemble cast and although this is the first in a new series following Maggie, it was truly Lucy’s story at it’s core. I loved the combination of a classic police procedural and domestic suspense, there was a lot going on here and although it took me a few chapters to settle in once I did I was well and truly hooked. Lucy is a probation officer and the authors insight and experience in this profession was heavily apparent and heartbreakingly raw and honest. It goes very dark and disturbing, just how I like my crime novels to be and it felt very authentic and truthful.

Overall this was a very compelling read and was sometimes a bit hard to read due to the subject matter, it’s hard hitting and bold. But again, I like my crime fiction dark and thought it was extremely well done and I can’t wait to see where this series goes next!

Dead Inside in three words: Dark, Disturbing and Bold.
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