Cover Image: Dead Inside

Dead Inside

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

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!
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
As well as being an excellent shouter and promoter of books on all social media platforms,the wonderful Noelle Holton is a cracking good writer as well!

She is genuinely someone who makes you smile when you see her pop up in any timeline and you kind of want to not like her, because she is so good at what she does, but this is IMPOSSIBLE!!! She is just so lush, a genuine and compassionate woman who goes all out to be the best she can be on a daily basis and inspires constantly.

She has skills aplenty and this comes to the fore in 'Dead Inside' the first of her DI Maggie Jamieson thrillers.

She teases the facts of the case out, taking a two pronged narrative then neatly dovetailing them together as her female protagonists take centre stage.

First you have Lucy, probation officer and abused wife of the odious, vile Patrick. She knows and is aware of every single trick that men use to control, manipulate and abuse the women in their lives yet she has ended up in exactly the same situation.

The sticking point for Lucy is that without her, Patrick's daughter , Siobhan, will be left unprotected and unsupported by either of her parents.

So Lucy deals with the nightmare at work and comes home to an even worse one.

DI Maggie Jamieson comes into the story as the new detective on the block, having had a horrendous experience, hinted at in the beginning, which has left her with recurrent nightmares and PTSD.

Her new role plunges her into a violent murder on day one, but is this person's removal from this plane something that benefits society? An abusive man who kept his partner in a state of terror when she wasn't in a hopsital bed, is this really a loss to society?

And here is where Noelle really plays her trump cards-not only does she have an in depth knowledge of how probation works, how offenders are treated and the justice system's role, she shows exactly what it is like and how easy it is to fall into an abusive relationship no matter how you try not to.

She lays bare the charming way that men inveigle themselves into your life, cut off your support, your safe spaces, your finances and use your children as a weapon against you.

She also shows great skill in getting you to think about the concept of justice-whilst so many would say that the world is a better place without them, don't these men deserve to be treated the same?

Are all murder victims created equal?

A rip roaring thriller with memorable female leads, I cannot wait for book 2, ''Dead Wrong'' which is available to pre-order now.
Was this review helpful?
Great book, really kept my interest all the way through.  Lucy is a probation officer and DC Maggie Jamieson is trying to solve the murders of three wife beaters.  Lucy's home life is not a happy one, her husband is a wife beater too.  I highly recommend this book.
Was this review helpful?
An absorbing and realistic book that draws you in. It has a wide cast of characters that is initially challenging to keep up with (especially as many of the characters use names of respected book bloggers). As the book unfolds and the one of the main characters Lucy is on the receiving end of domestic abuse both at home and at work, this host of characters provides insight into the challenges faced by people in the most horrendous circumstances.

The storyline weaves its way around three unpleasant men who are abuse perpetrators. Whilst this is badged as Maggie Jamieson book 1, I felt that she got very little airtime compared to many of the other characters or even the police characters- which was a shame as I’d have liked to have seen more from her.

All in all an interesting read from a crime author with a good pedigree. 4*
Was this review helpful?
I feel like I have wrote hard to read but that is only because of the domestic violence side of it as it is something I have lived through. The mystery was good and the storyline was well written. Worth a shot.
Was this review helpful?
The narrative and style of this book provides an authentic feel for this topic of domestic violence and I was convinced of the difficulties the characters experience. It was not necessarily an easy read but there were twist and turns enough to keep up the pace.  
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the review copy.
Was this review helpful?
This is the kind of book that would make award winning blogger CrimeBookJunkie say 'holy flaming sh*tballs', however, Noelle won't be reviewing Dead Inside because she wrote it!  That's right, top blogger CrimeBookJunkie has turned into bestselling author Noelle Holten.  I can say bestselling with some degree of proof as Dead Inside was THE top selling book at Newcastle Noir 2019.  Luckily, I grabbed a copy on day one of the festival as I saw the pile rapidly depleting.

I've followed Noelle Holten on social media for quite some time and, having read her amazing book reviews, I knew I was in for a gripping and hugely entertaining story but to be honest, every single thing about Dead Inside exceeded my expectations.  The characters themselves are a who's who of the blogiverse, named after some of the best book bloggers out there, and the plot itself is simply stunning.  

I'm not giving away any of this amazing story, other than to talk a little bit about what is already in the blurb.  It is a story about domestic violence so it is sometimes difficult to read; as a former probation officer, and through her own personal experiences, Noelle has a gritty and no holds barred style of writing which adds to the authenticity of the story.  The domestic abuse gets turned on its head as the beaters become the beaten and, even though it's fiction, it's so realistic that I actually felt a little guilty enjoying the wife-beaters getting their comeuppance.

Dead Inside is a phenomenal debut and I was gripped from start to beyond the end as a little thread of intrigue is left dangling to lead us very nicely into book 2.  Dead Inside is definitely the book to read this year and I'm wishing the year away already as I can't wait for Dead Wrong, the next DC Maggie Jamieson instalment to be released in November 2019.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.
Was this review helpful?
Sorry couldn't remove from my shelf until I rated it. Hard-hitting, authentic and compelling have been some ways this book has been described. It was an incredible journey behind the scenes of the various agencies involved in solving crimes.
Was this review helpful?
The multi-viewpoint narrative makes for an interesting read and the plot is twisty and thought-provoking with some interesting insights into the working partnership between the police and probation services. Overall, Dead Inside is a promising series opener and I look forward to reading the next instalment.
Was this review helpful?
I like to read fiction by debut authors and give them every chance, however NetGalley require me to give an honest review. Firstly, it was a sobering insight into domestic abuse and a difficult topic to address and for that the book has my praise. Unfortunately I found the book rather disjointed and at times read rather like a manual for professionals rather than an interesting and thought provoking story. The knowledge of the probation and police professions was obviously understood but the procedures were sometimes too detailed to make for interesting reading. It was as though each stage had to be clarified in order to make the uninformed reader understand whereas some more subtle writing would have achieved this without the unnecessary embellishments. I assumed the main character was Lucy and was surprised to realise some way through the book that it was actually Maggie who I found to be arrogant at best. She seemed to think her opinion and insights were far better than those of her superiors and I certainly didn’t warm to her and do not feel I could read another book involving this detective. I didn’t enjoy writing this negative review but hope the author will accept the constructive criticism.
Was this review helpful?
Great debut by a skilled storyteller who clearly knows her stuff regarding the probation service. Authentic, chilling and nail biting.  Despite the large cast of characters, the plots weaved nicely together. Looking forward to number 2
Was this review helpful?
#NetGalley #DeadInside This is the first book in a new DC Maggie Jamieson series  and I always love to be in on the start of a new police procedural.  As the first in the series, I expect that it will take a while to get to know the main characters but I was a little disappointed that we didn't really get in to the police side of things until the last third of the book, the first two thirds being taken up with more of the stories of the probation service and the victims stories.  Whilst this in itself was interesting - and it was good to have a different perspective from the probation side - it felt a little disjointed at times and it took me an age to read and as I kept having to remind myself of the characters and their stories.  I guessed the twist at the end with the real killer long before it was divulged. When Maggie finally got into the swing of things it was a good and enjoyable read and little snippets leave us hanging on for the next in the series.  For me, a good but not great read but I will be interested to read the next installment to see where this goes.
Was this review helpful?
This is the first of the DC Maggie Jamieson series and we are introduced to Maggie on her first day at the newly formed Domestic Abuse and Homicide Unit. She has been transferred from the murder team but is soon investigating another suspicious death. Maggie is haunted by a previous case and I predict that we have only seen a tiny sample of Maggie's character.

The bodies of three males are found in succession, and they all seem to have one thing in common. The victims have all been accused of domestic abuse in the past. The team must investigate quickly before the serial killer acts again, but no other direct links are apparent.

The story mainly involves probation officer, Lucy Sherwood whose work links directly to the DAHU team. By day, Lucy is totally professional, her career as a probation officer means that she interviews ex-offenders on a daily basis. When she returns home, however, Lucy's life takes a far different turn. Shockingly there are bizarre parallels between her home and work life, but Lucy is determined to keep the two separate.

Lucy's husband Patrick is a sinister character, sending cold chills one minute then transforming into a charismatic partner and devoted father the next. The image of Patrick reeking of beer and listening around corners was truly disturbing, yet I was utterly compelled to carry on reading. The subject of domestic violence is complex with many silent sufferers and I was struck by how it affects not just the victims, but also the children in these toxic relationships.

Dead Inside portrays the subject of domestic abuse from every angle, at times it is a harrowing read but so honest and insightful. The plot keeps up a steady pace throughout, there are many characters and separate storylines but the writing flows seamlessly. The author knows the probation service inside and out and her expertise shows because the story has an authentic feel. An astounding debut from a talented author and I hope we will be hearing much more from DC Maggie Jamieson and her team in the future.
Was this review helpful?
I love reading fast paced mysteries and thrillers involving police and crime scenes so I thought this book would be right up my alley. Unfortunately, I found it fairly predictable. The book didn’t really hold my attention and draw me in the way other thrillers do. I thought the parts looking into the minds of domestic abuse victims and the abusers was interesting - it shows the reader why victims stay with their abusers for so long while enduring so much. In the end, I felt like it was a very generic thriller book that didn’t contain a lot of pizazz or spark within the plot or characters.
Was this review helpful?
Dead Inside – Noelle Holten

Congratulations Noelle your first foray into the murky side of the world is a definite success.  Not only have you written a pretty decent police procedural you’ve created an interesting new British police procedural series. Oh and the lead protagonist is shaping up to be quite a character Detective Constable Maggie Jamieson. I’m hoping that we are going to be seeing/reading more about the Probation side of things; I found that to be quite interesting it made a refreshing addition. 

Bang! First day back at work with a new team and Maggie is off and running there’s been a murder.  The Domestic Abuse and Homicide Unit (DAHU) that is set up is a new initiative to finally recognise that more often than we are aware of go hand in hand and this should be the way it’s done. The first case with them is the murder of a known perpetrator of physical abuse this is just the beginning. I’m not sure if I’m unhappy that not one, not two or even three bodies turn up all of them being physical and mental abusers.

Lucy Sherwood is a probation officer with a professional persona who takes no prisoners (pardon the pun) from her clients. Married to Patrick who is everything that she despises in men, who behaves despicably towards Lucy.  One thing that surprised me it probably shouldn’t have was the double life that Lucy was prepared to live. The way that she covered up bruises and trotted out the usual lies to hide what was going on at home. It shows that we never ever really know how some people live until we walk a mile in their shoes or as my dad would have said ‘you never know what goes on behind closed doors’.

Domestic violence is wrong in every single way and not one person deserves it be they male or female. I will be honest and say that this could be a harrowing read and if you are or maybe have been a victim of either domestic violence and rape or even both.  

Noelle Holten writes in graphic but not gratuitous detail about the violence and the rape. There are times during my read that I found myself being moved to tears and then at others unable to either empathise or sympathise with some of the victims in this novel. I know in my heart it is purely because I’ve been fortunate that it’s never happened to me. 

Authors who delve into this side of life have a huge responsibility to get it right, if there is a such a thing as a right way.  These topics are super sensitive at the moment especially with the #metoo movement. 

Read for an honest review.  Thank you Netgalley and Harper Impulse and Killer Reads.  Killer Reads
Was this review helpful?
On reading this book, you may be surprised to realise that is it the Noelle’s first book.  The story is well structured and moves along at pace.

For this first book in the DI Maggie Jamieson series, the story revolves around Lucy Sherwood and her violent relationship with her husband.  Even if you know someone who has been in an abusive relationship, you never know what being in that situation is like.  The constant mental and physical anguish, walking on eggshells and changing your whole personality just to placate your partner.  Noelle has managed to capture the essence of this horrible mindset and get it onto paper, the fear and dread is very real.  Domestic violence is sadly part of our world and makes for difficult reading but this issue drives the story along and hopefully will enlighten some readers to the circumstances some women and men find themselves in every minute of every day.

Noelle’s extensive knowledge of the legal system is evident, the book has an authenticity to it as you read the conversations between the liaising agencies.  It was also interesting to get a small insight into Probation Officers as most crime novels focus solely on the Police teams.

Whilst Lucy is struggling with her home life, her day job is as a probation officer dealing with domestic abusers.  So she has to be professional and try and help these men who are exactly like her husband.

DI Maggie Jamieson and the team are dealing with a murder of a well known woman beater, most of the force think he got what he deserved, but when another two bodies are found they realise they are dealing with a serial killer.  The only connection between the three? Lucy Sherwood is their Probation Officer…….

An excellent debut novel and I can’t wait for the second one, Dead Wrong which you can preorder here
Was this review helpful?
Staffordshire has a critical domestic abuse problem. Because of this, a new, specialized police team called DAHU (Domestic Abuse and Homicide Unit) have been set up to deal with murders linked to domestic abuse. In addition, Staffordshire is experiencing an increasing number of substance abusers. The two problems act like nitro and glycerin.

New to the DAHU team is DC Maggie Jamieson. Also new to the team is the goth-dressed criminal psychologist Dr. Kate Moloney.


I was excited to learn that one of the bookbloggers I've followed for some time had written a book. I was tickled to read many familiar names sprinkled throughout the novel (the author used several of her bookblogger friends' names for her characters).

The subject matter of the novel is quite dark and disturbing. Spousal abuse/domestic violence is a difficult topic, but one in which this author is very knowledgeable - having worked as a probation officer herself. She knows her subject, and it shows. She seems to have an innate understanding of the abuser's psyche - and a knowledge of the cycle of abuse.

I thought that the novel had rather too many characters and found that less would have been more in this case. The protagonist should have been policewoman Maggie Jamieson as this is the first in the D.C. Maggie Jamieson series. However, after reading the book, I clearly felt that probation officer Lucy Sherwood was the protagonist.

Lucy Sherwood was a likable character, yet I was very frustrated with her. She has made her career working with violent offenders/abusers, yet she is abused herself. Surely she would have been more keen to escape her dire situation - and given her line of work had the gumption to do so. I understand that she was thinking of her husband's children, yet surely even they would have been better off out of that abusive environment...

The narrative was written skillfully and kept me interested in the outcome. This debut novel will be (and has been) enjoyed by many readers. I'll be interested in what this talented author will write next. All in all, "Dead Inside" was a strong debut.

3.5 stars rounded up
Was this review helpful?
This is a heavy read, moving through a large number of characters affected by domestic abuse. Despite hints of a serial killer, the murder investigation is not the book's priority. Instead, it focuses on the characters' relationships and how they are connected with one another. 

I thought the writing is persuasive and heartbreaking especially when we spend time with Lucy Sherwood, one of the main characters. As a victim of domestic abuse, she is a shadow of herself. It was tough to read scenes between her and her husband as they are fraught with violence. It might be a triggering factor for some readers, so take that as a note.
The author has a background in Probation Service and this comes across clearly in the procedures detailed in the book.  Particularly, on DAHU and the bureaucracy involved in making a multi-agency team work. Besides Lucy, we also spent time getting to know Maggie and her new workplace. I liked Maggie's interactions with her colleagues and I'm also intrigued by the possibility of Maggie exploring her identity as a bisexual woman perhaps in future books. 

The large cast of characters is unfortunately one of the weaknesses of the book. We spend a lot of time with characters that I felt were not important, so that at times the story lost focus. When the reveal of the killer came, there was no suspense or surprise. Although a final twist at the end left a positive note for me. Overall, a decent debut that will appeal with many crime fiction fans.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you netgalley for the advance copy of this title in exchange for my honest review/opinion. This book was great! So many twists and turns! Also, yes murder is illegal, but the way the author writes, you root on the killer. Well I did! Fun read.
Was this review helpful?