Cover Image: First Girl to Die (Detective Morgan Brookes Book 4)

First Girl to Die (Detective Morgan Brookes Book 4)

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The fourth installment of Detective Constable Morgan Brookes. This time, our dear Morgan is faced with a series of terrible events that puts everything she thought she knew in question. She gets called to a school where she find one of her high school best friends, and now teacher, acting weird, threatening to jump from the building and making everyone concerned. When Morgan attempts to talk to her, her friend opened the window and jump to her death. Incredibly concerned and heart broken, Morgan and her team begin their investigation and less than 48 hours later another friend from the high school group is severely injured, making Morgan suspicious. Something or someone is coming after her ex friend. All fingers are pointed towards someone very close and dear to Morgan, she know it can’t be possible. The question is, Who will be next? And, Will she get to them on time to prevent the worst from happening? 


Phew. What a roller coaster, this book. I really enjoyed reading the fourth book of this series. I have not read the previous ones and I feel like you don’t need to read them in order to be able to get through it. 

I did felt like there were some repetitive sentences and scenarios where our main character were just repeating the same things. It’s very subtle, so it’s not a big deal. I’m just picky when it comes to conversations in books or when the point of view changes and we read the same thing worded differently. 

There’s a lot to unpack in this book. There were some part that were so well put together that made you consider looking at everything from another perspective or make you look the other way when you already thought you knew who the culprit was. I like when authors are able to introduce a sentence or scenario that makes you look not as hard in a character’s direction. 

I honestly didn’t think the culprit was who it turned out to be. It caught me a bit off guard. I was suspicious of how everything was developing at the end but still gasped a little when it all unfolded. I still have questions and I want to read the first books to know about Morgan. I think that the group of friends were still way too attached to what happened 5 years ago. It didn’t make sense that they would still be talking about a high school crush the way it was involved in the story. Part of me was saying “Girl, get over it!”. Didn’t even seem like a serious detective novel a some point, but overall it was a really enjoyable read.
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This book is number 4 in the series and it is another great read! This story follows Detective Morgan going to the scene of a suspected suicide and realizing she knew the girl from school. Even more suspiciously, she gets a call about an incident in regards to another girl she knew from school. Time is of the essence as she has to figure out what this means and why all the victims are friends of hers from school. 

This is a great story that had me guessing throughout. I love when I can't immediately figure out "whodunnit". There were a few twists and turns throughout the story as well. I highly recommend this series and to start at the beginning to understand the character development. 


** I was given a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for my unbiased review**
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When the police are called to a primary school because a young teacher is acting erratically Morgan is shocked to find that she is one of her old school friends. Tragically she is unable to stop Brittany from jumping to her death. Morgan & her friends lost touch after the tragic death of Brad, who had fallen to his death from a crag after the group had gone for an unsanctioned sleepover at the beauty spot. Morgan had been grounded so she never witnessed the event. Another of the group is found half naked & semi conscious at the spot. Brad's tragedy is a link but when both of them are found have speciality teas in their possession Morgan is horrified as she creator of these teas is the one person she has relied on since she was very young. 

This is a fast paced police procedural that kept me guessing. I really love this series of books & am always excited to see what hoops Helen Phifer is going to put her through this time! I'm already looking forward to the next one. Thanks to Netgalley & the publisher for letting me read & review this book.
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The Fourth book to feature Detective Morgan Brookes and another fantastic five star read. Gripping, full of tension and suspense. Hooked from the first to the last page and finally turned the last page at 1.30am. Yes this book is that good. This series keeps going from strength to strength. I had no idea who the killer was until the big reveal and I was shocked and yes I got it wrong. A fantastic plot and this author certainly knows how to tell a story. Another explosive addition to this gripping and very addictive series. Another MUST READ!!!!
Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC in return for giving an honest review.
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Just fabulous!   Loved this book, it’s such a great series and this book did not disappoint.  The story was absolutely thrilling that kept me on the edge of my seat holding my breath in places.  Helen Phifer is a master storyteller and one of my favourite authors, I would totally recommend that you buy this book it’s great. A big fat five stars from me.  Start with book one you won’t regret it!
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Thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley, too,
For my copy of this book, here's my honest review:

This is a brilliant Crime Thriller
Complete with a serial killer
In Cumbria, England, the story is set
And this could be the best one yet!

Detective Morgan Brookes is called to the school
Where a member of staff is acting weird and not cool.
It turns out she's Morgan's old school friend
But she's too late to prevent her tragic end.

She is the first girl to die
To prevent any others Morgan will try
But strange happenings put all at risk
Unless the case solving is very brisk.

There are clues and red herrings, too
To tantalise and confuse both me and you.
There's definitely a link to a tragic death in the past
But who is involved and will this be the last?

This is an intriguing case to keep you guessing
With old friends involved and time is pressing
There's links to Morgan's aunt, who makes herbal teas
But she's harmless and caring - Morgan hopes all will agree!

What happened at the party, that night long ago?
To find out the truth seems imperative although
As folks connected to Morgan are so involved too
Removing her from the team is what they'll do.

I thoroughly enjoyed these fascinating cases
Exploring relationships and all the different places.
If you enjoy getting involved in solving cases of crime 
I highly recommend you give reading this book some of your time!
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4.5 stars

First Girl to Die by Helen Phifer is the 4th in the Detective Morgan Brookes series.

First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher Bookouture, and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


Series Information: (Warning – May contain spoilers from previous books)
Morgan Brookes has always dreamed of being a detective. As a rookie officer, she finds the body of a woman, and is catapulted into the Crime Investigation Department under the direction of DS Ben Matthews, where she will work with him, Amy and Des.  After losing her mother, she finally got to know her dad, but Stan is now dead.  Meanwhile, she has learned that her biological father is a rapist and a killer, and is now in prison.


My Synopsis:   (No major reveals, but if concerned, skip to My Opinions)
When Morgan and Ben arrive at a school, she is stunned to find she knows the teacher who just jumped or fell out the window.  She had been a high school friend.  The other teachers say that Brittany had been acting really strange prior to barricading herself into the room.

When another high school friend ends up in the hospital after erratic behaviour, Morgan quickly ties the two incidents together.  Could this possibly have something to do with their friend that died during a high school camping trip many years ago?

Unfortunately, both friends had both ingested tea provided by Morgan's aunt.  Could someone be setting her aunt up, or does bad blood continue to run through her family.

Then there is the fact that Morgan's biological father has escaped from prison.


My Opinions:   
Well, this series is back on track after a slight blip in the last book.  This was really good.

Again, the plot was good,  and the short chapters and non-stop action make for a very fast read.  I had guessed wrong about the identity of the perpetrator, and that made it great!

Character-wise, I like the team, and they work well together.  I absolutely love Morgan's Aunt, but I am not really thrilled with the relationship between Ben and Morgan.  I was actually rooting for them, but now, not so much.

Anyway, this was a great addition to the series, and I'm already looking forward to the next one!
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First girl to die by Helen Phifer. 
Detective Morgan Brookes book 4.
Morgan shudders as she leans out of the window and takes in the familiar blonde curls and clear blue eyes of the fallen girl below. She knows this woman, and she realises with sickening certainty that her friend is now gone forever…
When Detective Morgan Brookes is called to the scene of a suicide, she’s devastated to recognise the young teacher sprawled out on the grass like a broken doll. She hasn’t seen Brittany for years. Not since the tragic death of Morgan’s high-school boyfriend ripped their friendship group apart. But when witnesses describe Brittany’s erratic behaviour and jumbled speech that morning, Morgan is convinced the fearless, life-loving girl she once knew didn’t jump of her own accord.
Traces of poison found in Brittany’s blood prove Morgan’s theory right, but no one can find the source. Then Morgan uncovers a distinctive jar in Brittany’s home filled with toxic herbs, and the sight of it turns her blood to ice. She has a jar just like it, a handmade gift from her aunt. Is this a coincidence, a set-up, or could the only person she’s ever trusted with her damaged past be capable of murder?
Then another woman from Morgan’s past is found, close to the scene of that fatal teenage party. Has Morgan been looking at this all wrong? Are these deaths connected to that deadly night? And how could someone from her own family possibly be involved?
With her aunt’s freedom and more innocent lives at stake, Morgan must dig deep into her painful memories for answers. Who else was there that night, and what exactly did they see? She must stop this twisted killer before any more of her old friends become new victims – but at what cost?
I really really enjoyed this book.  Even though I haven't read the first 3 books I was able to Read this one. Great story and characters. I hope there is more to come.  5*.
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I love all of Helen's work and always ensure I have no plans just so I can sit and read her books. In this latest novel in the Morgan Brookes series she gives us an insight into Morgans schooldays. Morgan and Ben are called to a primary school where a young teacher is acting out of character and threatening suicide. Sadly they are too late and Morgan discovers the teacher was a school friend. Later in the day another school friend also acts strangely. Who is targeting these friends and what link does it have to the past? And is Morgan the next victim?
I can't wait for the next installment.
I also loved to see the reference to another great Bookouture author Angela Marsons and a great site for booklovers Tea Leaves and Reads mentioned in the book. 
Many thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture and Heken Phifer for the opportunity to read this advanced copy in exchange for my honest review
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Book 4  in the Detective Morgan Brookes series was another absolute cracker of a read in which js  fast becoming one of my favourite detective series.  From the prologue I was completely gripped by this book.  I love when I’m reading a book and have absolutely no idea who the guilty party could be as was what happened in this book. This is a fast paced and gripping crime thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat.
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Another brilliant book from Helen Phifer. 
Morgan and Ben are called out when a teacher is behaving erratically and Ben is asked to negotiate to stop her from jumping from the window. 
Morgan realises she knows the woman as they were friends at school so tries to talk to her, but she is not in her right mind, and throws herself out of the window. 
Their investigation leads them to a herbal remedy the woman had been taking and Ben is convinced it caused her strange behaviour. 
Morgan knows who made the herbal mixture and knows deep down that her Aunt Ettie would not harm anyone. 
Another woman is found acting strangely by the caves and Morgan is shocked to realise it’s another old friend from school. 
She can’t work out why her group of friends are being targeted and Ben warns her to be careful, as the killer could have her in their sights. 
This is a gripping crime thriller that certainly kept me guessing. 
Thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.
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An absorbing mystery until the very end. Detective Morgan Brookes is called to the scene of a suicide. Saddened by the woman’s death, she is shocked when she recognizes her as a former school friend. They learn that the woman was acting strange before she jumped and was taking an herbal remedy for a health issue. Unfortunately, this leads them to Morgan’s Aunt Ettie, a local woman who makes and sells natural herb remedies. Morgan knows that there is no way her aunt would have given the woman anything harmful. When another of Morgan’s friends is found acting strange and almost dies, Morgan knows that she needs to solve the case before someone else dies or her aunt ends up in prison. Years ago, Morgan’s friends attended a party where a popular boy fell from the top of a cave and was killed. Is someone blaming her friends for his death and getting their revenge after all these years? If so, who will be next? I received an advance review copy at no cost and without obligation for an honest review. (by paytonpuppy)
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Absolutely amazing! A speeding rollercoaster start to finish. I love the character Morgan and this author creates such a rich story with amazing characters. The story was so fast paced and well written. I could not put this book down. It was simply astounding. The end had me holding my breath till the last page. So well done.
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Release date 11th October 2021

Detective Morgan is back and oh boy ie she back. When she is called to a local school to help assist with a possible suicide situation she finds herself stunned to realise its her high school best friend. When more people from her previous social circle start acting strange and more deaths start coming she can't help but think this is all related to the death of her high-school crush Brad. 

First things first if you haven't read the previous books do so before starting this one, although you can manage just fine I'd you skip and start here I would highly recommend the first books ad they are so good. Helen Phifer has a way of writing that will keep you completely hooked. She  is up there with the best in this genre  

Morgan is our protagonist  and again will find herself in danger. She is such a great lead I couldn't help but love her even more this time. He caring naturists her loveable and her instincts make her a better detective. Plus her work with the team means they are able to help her work out what is going on and why. As usual she's working closely with Ben and as we know they both secretly like one another but neither wants to start anything. So let's just say you  find yourself angry at one of them. 

I enjoyed the storyline as it was super intriguing how the killer is killing. I hadn't clicked the link until later in the book nut on reflection there are clues from the beginning! So keep reading with suspicion. To be honest I hate guessed the wrong killer until the very end also. 
Its fascinating because the book plays heavily on teenage dynamics and shows a complete lack of empathy. 

Helen Phifer did s fantastic job and the kidnap series is up there with some of the best crime thrillers available. 
Rare 5 stars easy. Was a joy to read and twists and turns throughout cannot wait for the in this series. 

Thanks to netgalley, Helen Phifer and and the publishers for the advanced digital copy in exchange for my fair and honest opinions
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★★★★★ 4.5 stars (rounded up)

I am excited to be taking part in the #BooksOnTour #BlogTour for Helen Phifer's exciting crime thriller FIRST GIRL TO DIE.

I think what I love about Helen Phifer's DC Morgan Brookes series is the personal aspect that continues to linger in the background throughout each of the books. I still haven't yet read the first book, having jumped in with the second one "The Killer's Girl" , but I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of them. However, I think this one is probably the best so far. Having said that, I am growing a little weary of Ben and Morgan's second guessing themselves and each other. Will they just get together already?? It's obvious they both want to and Morgan's jealousy over Ben spending the night with her neighbour just had me rolling my eyes. I'm like "well, you won't do anything about it...what do you expect?" She even gave Emily the thumbs up to go for it! Stupid woman.

But I digress...

The story opens with a scene from 2016 in which a group of teenagers climb the fells to spend a night camping at Rydal Caves. Four girls and one boy...this could get a little awkward. The group laugh and joke and drink till they are almost fall down drunk...and then the unthinkable occurs. The boy climbs to the top of the caves and standing too close to the edge exclaims "I'm the king of the world!" before losing his footing and falling to this death.

Now it's 2021 and DC Morgan Brookes is called to a local primary school where an old school friend of hers, Brittany Alcott, is a teacher. Apparently, one of their teachers is acting strangely, mumbling something about a baby and threatening to jump out of the staff room window. In need of a negotiator, Morgan calls Ben who arrives shortly after her and she is shocked to learn that the teacher in question is in fact her old school friend. She tries to reach out to her through the barricaded door but the sound of smashing glass and a thud fills her with sudden dread. Forcing their way in, Morgan and Ben find the staff room empty and a broken window through which Morgan peers to see Brittany sprawled on the ground below, a billowing read cloud forming behind her head.

She hadn't seen Brittany properly since they left school, having parted ways to pursue their own lives. But they did cross paths in the supermarket some weeks before where they exchanged a few brief words before continuing on their way. Filled with a sense of guilt, Morgan wondered if she should have taken the time to talk to her old friend properly. Could she have prevented her from taking her own life?

Within twenty four hours they receive a call about a woman seen naked at Rydal Caves and muttering gibberish to herself. When she was approached by the person who found her, she screamed and ran deep into the cave. Morgan and Ben were closest and raced to the scene where she lead a huffing and puffing Ben up the fell and through the track leading to the caves. They questioned the men briefly before entering the cave, where Morgan heard a splash and found the woman face down in the water. Dragging her out into the light of day, she was shocked to discover the woman was Sienna Waters, another from her group of friends at school. Performing CPR while Ben called for paramedics, Morgan managed to get a weak pulse and Sienna breathing again before she was air lifted to hospital where she remained unconscious.

What was going on? Two of her old school friends found to be acting strangely and out of character, as if they were hallucinating. One jumping to their death, the other almost drowning herself. It was if they were poisoned - but with what? Their behaviour was hallucinogenic which leaned towards the theory that they may have ingested a psychotic drug or one of the deadly herbs her aunt Ettie uses to make her special teas with. But the fact that Sienna was found at Rydal Caves made Morgan think back five years ago when the boy she secretly loved, Brad, had fallen to his death from the top of the cave. Did what happened then have something to do with what was happening now? If so, then her two other friends, Jess and Lara, may well be in danger also. Each of the women were present the night Brad died. Morgan was supposed to be there but her dad had grounded her and for once Morgan didn't defy him and go anyway. If she had, maybe Brad would never have died.

Then when Morgan is called a fatal road traffic accident based on the fact the woman involved was seen acting strangely, she felt a sense of impending doom. The woman didn't stand a chance versus a delivery van, whose driver was inconsolable, and her body lay on the tarmac as Morgan tentatively approached. She wasn't shocked to discover the familiar face of Jess covered in blood...only saddened. Could she have stopped this? It was obvious now that this was all linked to that tragic night five years ago. Someone was targeting each of the women who'd been there that night...but who? And why? Morgan knew she had to warn Lara before she too became another victim.

Meanwhile, it has been established that the women had Belladonna in their systems, deadly nightshade, which is a strong hallucinogenic and can also be fatal. Ben was aware of Morgan's eccentric aunt who lived in a cabin in the woods, conjuring up herbal teas for all sorts of ailments Belladonna was one of her ingredients as its properties could be healing in minute doses. But what if Ettie had inadvertently used too much and poisoned the women? He has no alternative but to bring her in for questioning which angers Morgan no end when she discovers he had done so stealthily. But Morgan doesn't believe for one minute believe her aunt Ettie poisoned anyone - even inadvertently.

But her superiors now believe Morgan is too close to the investigation to be impartial. So she is sent off to investigate a shop break-in, and she is surprised to learn it is none other than Sienna's alternative shop. Sienna, having recovered from her near death experience, is incensed at the damage done to her livelihood and takes offence at Morgan's line of questioning. There is no CCTV and entrance was via the back of the shop so Morgan, on a hunch, approaches the building society opposite for their CCTV to see if it captured anything. What it reveals leaves Morgan questioning this new-found relevance and sets her on a path to uncover the guilty party once and for all.

FIRST GIRL TO DIE leads readers on a merry chase through various avenues and mud-infested fells to a spectacular showdown. All throughout nothing is obvious to either Morgan or the reader as we plunder our way through trying to tie loose ends together that keep falling apart. The twists throughout will keep you guessing as you try to piece it all together. Even I had no idea who it was, although I did find the ending a little bit of a letdown after all the hype building up to it. I think I would have preferred a slightly different outcome but it was still a satisfactory end to yet another brilliant addition to this addictive series.

A page-turner that kept me reading well into the wee hours, FIRST GIRL TO DIE is a quick read that is as engrossing as it is enjoyable. Unlike the last book, "The Hiding Place" where the villain was easily identified, this one has the reader guessing throughout.

I love the personal aspect of this series and with each book a little bit more about Morgan's background is revealed. While her biological father escaped prison at the end of the second book, this knowledge has been a lingering presence throughout the past two books and one which I'm sure Helen Phifer will revisit soon enough as the threat of his reappearance is sure to haunt Morgan until he does so.

This series is such an easy one to read and I have enjoyed my time in the Lakes District with Morgan and Ben with every book. Each one is a quick read with enough baggage to keep you enthralled but not so much as to bog you down with.

I love almost everything about this series - the characters, the team, the setting - despite wanting to bash Morgan and Ben's heads together to make them both see sense. Their mutual attraction is obvious to absolutely everyone except them! However, regardless of that one irritating aspect, this is one of the best series out there. I love Helen Phifer's easy style of writing and thoroughly enjoyed her previous Beth Adams series - of which there are only two and I long for more of them.

An intriguing and fast paced crime thriller with short snappy chapters to keep the pace moving, FIRST GIRL TO DIE is a fantastic addition to an already brilliantly addictive series.

I would like to thank #HelenPhifer, #NetGalley and #Bookouture for an ARC of #FirstGirlToDie in exchange for an honest review.
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Morgan Brookes you do get yourself in a quandary and manage so far to get out with the help of Ben, Amy and the team.  

Did I say you are my hero and would love to have you on my side investigating (unless I am the culprit then don't bother).

Morgan's school friends are suddenly dying a nasty death one by one and it looks like someone is to get them all.

Morgan is doing her best not to fall apart and to find out what is going on.  How can this be happening.

The pages fly by and the lights stay on for one more hour just to see who is guilty.  

I love this series and each book keeps getting better and better so if you have not read the Morgan Brookes books do yourself a favour and put them to the top of the TBR pile

I will be first in line for the next adventures of Morgan and Ben.

Thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for another great book in the series.  Loved it.
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Detective Morgan Brooke’s is back onto a job which brings back her painful youth. When one of her childhood friends comes to harm Morgan faces up to her past and tries to stop more from getting hurt. 
As always an enthralling book from start to finish. Helen secures her place as one of the best crime writers yet again and roll on book 5! Thank you to netgalley and the publishers for this arc in exchange for my honest review.
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Another Masterpiece from the extremely talented Helen Phifer who never fails to deliver. 

A corker to this amazing series and this time it's personal. 

This book continues to build it's fab characters (Ettie is a favourite of mine) its full of tension, deceit, suspicion I couldn't turn the pages fast enough it had me hooked! 

I have followed Morgan since book one and I shall follow her to book five and beyond.
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Detective Morgan Brookes high school friend Brittany jumps from a window, suicide? As memories flood back from that time there is another call that involves another woman who was also part of the teenage group. Going in the past will solve the future? Great book, looking forward to going back and reading book 1 to 3
Thank you NetGalley and Bookouture for an early readers copy.
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Book 4 in the series and as usual Morgan is slap bang in the middle of it all!

I love the characters of Ben and Morgan but boy there was some horrible people in this. I could feel myself almost hoping they would be the next victim. 

A good plot that swaps from the past to present with enough twists to keep it interesting.

Look forward to the next one to find out what's in store for them all.
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