Cover Image: The Binding Room

The Binding Room

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Member Reviews

Thank you to @netgalley for my digital copy of this! 

I first have to mention-I love this cover. The colors, the image –it all just looks so deadly! I must admit, I was nervous when I saw the length of this one at over 500+ pages, but I flew through it! I loved The Jigsaw Man and our cast of characters so I knew I had to read the sequel. This can be read as a standalone but I suggest reading The Jigsaw Man first. It will help understand the characters, their background and it is freaking good too! 

Now you know my black, frozen heart loves dark subject matter. The Jigsaw Man was definitely dark and very descriptive and The Binding Room was no exception. @queennads has a way with the gore and she does a wonderful job of hooking you in with it while also including the emotional aspect of the case/deaths. It is always conflicting and she really gives you   the full emotional spectrum of the case and situation.  I also think that adding all of that extra emotion helps with this as it a police procedural and so are not fans of that. It does not necessarily read that way. It was exciting, tense and I did not guess one single twist, which shocked me. 

I knew this would be wonderful, and I was right! Grab your copy of both The Jigsaw Man and The Binding Room now!
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What's it about (in a nutshell):
The Binding Room by Nadine Matheson is a compelling, action-packed crime thriller/police procedural about exorcism, mental health, and corrupt religious leaders.

Initial Expectations (before beginning the book):
I read the first book in the series, The Jigsaw Man, so I expect more of the same or even better. The cover is intriguing, with a rope running through the title. The cord + the title makes me think of a room for tieing people up with the string, and considering the genre, this is somewhat terrifying. The blurb is even more frightening, talking about dark religious rituals. So, I am expecting a terrifying thriller with well-developed characters.

Actual Reading Experience:
My actual reading experience was much as I expected. The Binding Room is another engaging and compelling installment in the Anjelica Henley series. It can be read as a standalone, though you will appreciate the character development more if you read the series in order. My attention was grabbed from the first page and, even though it's over 500 pages, held me spellbound until the end when all mysteries are solved. The pace stays fast throughout and is compounded by shocking twists and turns. I did not see any of them coming until right before they were revealed though I did note some oddities that turned out to be clues.

I loved that racism and feelings toward mental health disorders are included, and how they are handled is extraordinarily effective. Never does the author take a moment to preach to the reader. She simply tells of the experiences as the character responds. This manner left a strong impression and gave me much to think about long after the book ended.

The plot is complex and developed with great attention to detail, making it a solid five-star read. The team led by Henley must solve multiple murders that are interconnected and equally horrifying. Police procedurals can be relatively dry, but not when written the way both books in this series are written. The characters come alive on the page as their personal stories are told, along with the mysteries they must solve. The lives of these characters are very complex and important stories that can stand on their own.

All of the characters are well-developed and intricately layered, especially Anjelica. I love her strength and determination all wrapped up in the flawed package that makes her a character I was quickly drawn to. The interactions between her team members feel authentic, as do her exchanges with her husband. They are good, and they are problematic. They build her up, and they distract her. All the complexities experienced in real life are brought to the page with a vividness and poignancy that touched my heart as I read.

What It Reminds Me Of:
The first in the series – The Jigsaw Man

To Read or Not to Read:
If you love mystery/thrillers, even if you are not partial to procedurals, this is a book you won't want to miss. You will love the characters, have your mind expanded by pertinent issues in the story, and ultimately feel that even 500+ pages are not enough of this incredible world.
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Thank you net galley.  What a read!!!  
A pillar of the community is found dead and so begins the search to find the killer(s).
Detective Anjelica Henley is called to investicate a murder, she finds more then the murdered pastor.  She finds a young male victim in a secluded room while searching the church for evidence.
The list of suspects is long as each one has a motive to do the crime(s).
A very suspenceful read.
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This is the second thriller in the 'Anjelica Henley' series from this successful British author. The first book was "The Jigsaw Man "and while this new one can be read as a stand-alone, I recommend reading "The Jigsaw Man" first to get the most out of the series. This is a traditional thriller, with a significant amount of gore, as opposed to the very popular psychological thrillers.  In this one when Henley is called out to investigate the murder of a preacher, she also finds a man barely alive in a locked room, who has been bound and tortured. The bodies pile up and Henley faces charges of racism when it seems that more time is being spent on the case of the tortured white man, than the black preacher.  The author said this book was inspired by news stories of exorcisms gone wrong.  This is a fun read and a great recommendation for fans of both her previous thriller and "The Chestnut Man".  I really enjoyed it.
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The Binding Room by Nadine Mathison is the second book in the Anjelica Henley series. I was so excited to read this one after having loved The Jigsaw Man. This book met every expectation I had. Henley is professional and a main character that is easy to like and root for. You can absolutely see that Matheson knows her stuff and keeps everything informational but interesting. The crime was chilling but there was never gratuitous violence.
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Now THIS is how you write an engaging police procedural! I'll admit that I was nervous glancing at the 500+ page count before diving in, but I enjoyed The Jigsaw Man enough to give the sequel a try, and by the end of the book I felt like I wasn't ready for it to be over. If that doesn't scream 5 stars, then I don't know what does.

The book picks up in the weeks following the conclusion of Jigsaw Man, and Anj and her team are feeling the remnants of trauma caused by Olivier, while also needing to dive headfirst into a new case that is both gruesome and disturbing. I'm not one to get squeamish while reading these types of books, but I definitely felt like the author did a fine job of including just the right amount of gore to hook the reader into feeling both sorrow for the victims and anger toward the monsters responsible. Also? I didn't guess a single one of the twists, not one.

While this can be read as a standalone, I think it was more meaningful knowing the characters ahead of time to feel connected to their personal life plot threads. I'm still thinking about this book days after finishing and know it will be in my top ten reads for 2022!
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- 4.25 Stars - 

Nadine Matheson has done it again! She left me clinging to every word and dreading having to put down this book! I was a big fan of the way everything fell together at the end. While I had a feeling I knew who did what, I was still pleasantly surprised when the killers were revealed! 

This book leads out with DI Henley as she follows up with the murder of Pastor Caleb Annan and the mystery behind a young man being found in a tortured and malnourished state in a hidden room within the church. It leaves you wondering what on earth was going on in that building??? 

One murder leads to another and another, so Henley is left running around London trying to figure out who did it and what the heck was the motive? Toss in a missing/kidnapped child and you’ve got an incredible twisty-turny mystery. 

This thriller was wonderful, Henley is an awesome FMC to be following along and the random chapters from the victims point of view were such epic additions to the storyline. I will definitely be keeping up with the future books by Nadine Matheson! 

Thank you, @netgalley and Harlequin Trade Publishing for this advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest review! All of the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
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I enjoyed this book tremendously. I thought that Henley and her partner were wonderful. I was blown away by the many twist and turns to get to the conclusion. I was very intrigued at how the writer explained the many jumps and cartwheels that the investigation needs to go through before the law even determines a subject. The graphics language used when it came to the villain and his victims was very exceptional. The book is a definite page turner that was very entertaining.
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Anjelica Henley is back in good psychical shape after the ending of The Jigsaw Man while still recovering emotionally.  This richly graphic story of a notorious church,  pseudo exorcisms,  corrupt religious leaders, institutional and every day racism is difficult to read in places and even more difficult to forget.  Nadine Matheson  gives us real world politics shrouded in an excellent and well thought out thriller. Can’t wait for the next installment.
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Sometimes you start a book just to check the style of writing. Sometimes you think that you will only read some pages and then, some hours later, you turn the last page after having read it in one sitting.
This is what happened, it was a long and adrenaline fuelled ride that kept me on the edge till the last page.
It starts with a bang and it's a like series of fireworks, unexpected twists, and a solution that I never saw coming.
I loved it, loved even the goriest and most horrific parts.
It's a disturbing, gritty, and gripping story that brought me to some very dark places and never let me stop reading even when I was thinking this is too much.
There's a lot of sufferance, there's a respectful approach to mental health issues, and there's a lot of empathy toward the victims.
There's something truly terrifying in this story and there's a lot sufference.
DI Henley and DC Ramouter are suffering from their personal issues with their families and from the PTSD due to the torture of a serial killer. I wasn't a fan at the beginning but they grew on me and I loved their humanity and empathy.
Ms Matheson is master storyteller and deliver a gritty and gripping story, a page turner I could stop reading.
It's highly recommended.
Many thanks for this ARC, all opinions are mine..
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I think I have pretty thick skin. I have been through a lot of stuff and usually, it takes a lot to make me flinch. Let me just say, this author made me flinch…. multiple times! Wow

I also have to say when I closed this book, I told my hubby that this author has some twisted thoughts in her head! LOL-But oh, what a storyteller she is!

The Binding Room deals with deep dark levels of extremists in a Christian church. If you can get past the prologue you may have a chance to experience it.

This book truly is an experience you will not forget. It is an addicting story filled with seriously gruesome crimes and some twisted people. It is completely engrossing and warped. The character development is amazing. The plot and craftsmanship of the writing are superb.

The fact that I did not read book one was of minimal consequence. Mostly we miss personal issues and another gruesome crime, but in terms of the overall plot, this was easy to follow.

If you are a crime junky with a taste for the extreme, this is a must-read for you. The whole book is a trigger warning!

Why 4 stars from me? Because I am a wimp and could not handle some of the extreme descriptions of the crimes. I would classify this in the horror genre, personally.
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After a solid debut and start of the Inspector Anjelica Henley series last year, I have been looking forward to return for more. I like it when a detective thriller series is able to offer a refreshing angle, and this series seems to be doing exactly that with the focus on race and discrimination and a black female detective lead. I fully expected to have an excellent time with this sequel as well, and there were certainly parts of The Binding Room that were very successful, but overall sadly I personally didn't find it to be as strong as her debut. I'll try to explain why below.

First of all, I have to say that I can still really appreciate the focus on race and discrimination. I'm all for diversity and in a way it's strange that we don't see a diverse case of detective leads and other supporting characters more often; both in race, nationality and beliefs. I don't think I've encountered a series with a black female detective lead before, and Anjelica Henley is without doubt a fascinating character. The focus on the discrimination the different characters have to face both inside the police and during the investigation is realistically developed and can be a true eye-opener. That said, I do think The Binding Room took things a little too far with too much focus on the racism and discrimination, which can end up having an opposite (and negative) effect. While important, too much of the same angle can get repetitive and it can distract from the original message.

Now comes something that is a personal pet peeve: the religious angle. I'm never a fan of religion in a story and while there is no real preaching and it's more of a cult-like religion focus, there was just something about this element that made me enjoy the story less. This has mostly to do with my personal aversion and not with how it was incorporated into the plot though. What I also found highly frustrating was the focus on the cheating element and the love triangle vibes not related to the murder investigation; they distracted from the plot, were in my eyes completely unnecessary and they were one of the main reasons why this sequel didn't work as well for me. It also made me like the main character considerably less...

The cast of characters is a diverse and interesting bunch with each of them having their own background, past, issues and secrets. It is highly recommended to read the first book before starting The Binding Room though, because this sequel jumps right in without giving you any pointers on what happened before... And you will be missing out on key background information otherwise. The case itself is fascinating and there are many twists and turns involved as you try to discover the truth behind the Caleb's death as well as the other victims. The twists were quite effective as well, because I never guessed the full truth until it was finally revealed.

I do have to say that I think that The Binding Room is way overlong and could have benefitted from eliminating certain elements and sideplots. The pace wasn't always consistent and certain parts started to drag considerably... A more condensed story with a tighter plot would have made a much bigger impact. That said, I know that I'm in the minority and most people do seem to love this sequel a lot more. If you like your detective thrillers with a refreshing angle and don't mind what I've mentioned before in my review, this series might just be a great fit for you.
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The Binding Room was my number one most anticipated book of 2022 so I was ecstatic to get an advanced digital copy from the publisher!  Thank you Hanover Square Press!  With that being said, I was almost nervous going into this one, hoping and praying that it would live up to the perfection of Matheson's first book The Jigsaw Man and I am happy to report that it did!  It absolutely did! 

There are so many elements to gush about with this book and this series.  First off, it was a delight to get to spend more time with Inspector Henley and her humble and lovable partner Ramouter. Book two gave even more personal story to these two characters and I loved getting that vulnerable side to each of them and I look forward to reading more about them in future book in the series. 

The plot of The Binding Room left me in awe of Matheson's ability to string together so many loose threads that all add to the plot and the mystery, without any red herrings.  Every piece of information has a place somewhere in the mystery.  Nothing is left to waste, and I absolutely love that.  Nothing annoys me more in a book than to have an author spent copious amounts of time and pages feeding the reader clues that end up having nothing to do with the final outcome.  I always feel like I wasted my time with a book like that.  The Binding Room obviously does not do that, Matheson is an incredibly talented crime fiction writer and I would compare her mysteries to the  Lars Kepler Joona Linna series, in case you need a good reference.

This book is a long one, but it is so worth it. I will always read any crime fiction Matheson puts out!  I have a feeling she will soon become one of the household names in the genre!
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Having not read the Jigsaw Man not sure what I was getting into reading this book.
Twist and turns but following it was hard for me.
I just didn't love it. 

Thanks to the author, the publisher and NetGalley for an early release of this book.
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Here I thought book 1 was creepy as well as dark and twisted ,but this one has that one bet, and every time the team thought they had some idea on what happened more lies and secrets came out of nowhere . In fact though out the story I felt like the first victim got what was coming to him, and I felt sorry for the other victims that came after him.
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DI Angelica Henley and her team are back after the gruesome events of The Jigsaw Man. Six months have passed and the shadow cast by Peter Olivier still looms over them. Angelica has personal problems with her husband, Rob( I did not like him at all), professional issues with her boss and former lover, Stephen, and is suffering from PTSD thanks to her near-fatal encounter with Olivier.

When a well-known pastor is murdered, you would think that finding his killer would be the team's only objective. But as they are searching the crime scene, they find a man, bound, tortured, and looking very dead. Now Angelica has to solve the murder of what appears to be an evil man. As the body count rises, there are plenty of suspects, yet they seem to be no closer to solving this crime.

The racism that Angelica and one of her team members, Ramouter have experienced in the past, rears its ugly head yet again. Stephen is getting political pressure from an MP, and Angelica is livid. It doesn't help to solve the murder either when skeletons just keep falling out of the pastor's closet.

In the end, everything made sense if you understand that professionally, this case is closed, even if it has ramifications that might carry over to the next book. Ramouter still suffers from Olivier's actions and he is dealing with a heartbreaking situation with his wife. Angelica is barely treading water with her husband and her lingering feelings for Stephen continue to create turmoil. I enjoyed being with these characters again!

People always ask me if a book in a series can be read as a standalone. While I am not a fan, in this case, the investigation could be, but without reading The Jigsaw Man, you will not truly relate to the havoc Peter Olivier caused.
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From the author of The Jigsaw Man comes the second installment of Inspector Anjelica Henley. The Jigsaw man was a great and gruesome read and I was looking for more of that.

This one has the characters all still traumatized from Olivier so everyone is a bit off their game. But when a pastor in the community is brutally murdered, there are so many suspects it’s hard to pick just one!

And what they find in a hidden room is downright gruesome. These people have taken religion in a whole new direction. And wow are they good at justifying their actions. Totally insane.

Anjelica is still conflicted where her boss is concerned, which is an interesting side piece. I didn’t care for the husband one bit.

There are so many twists and turns it was hard to keep straight but I did. And it’s always the last reason and person you suspect of getting their own brand of justice.

NetGalley/ Harlequin July 12, 2022
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✨Book review✨
The Binding Room
By Nadine Matheson 

This was a difficult read for me, and I am saddened as I had heard great things, but for me there was something missing.

I found it difficult to align with the main character in this story, and perhaps this is due to the fact that this is a second novel for Detective Inspector Anjelica Henley. 

The storyline at times was a bit hard to follow for me, and this could again have to do with me having not read The Jigsaw Man first.

There was definitely suspense and gore, with some very cringe worthy scenes set. Some readers may be triggered by the topics of religion, race, and mental well being . 

That being said, the book just didn’t pack the full punch for me. I may read the Jigsaw Man and see if that sways how I feel about this book, but as it stands currently for me, this was just okay.

Rating : ⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Thanks so much to @netgalley for a copy of this E-Arc in exchange for my honest review.

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Thank you Killer Crime Club and NetGalley for this book. It reminded me a little of Bones and a little of Law and Order SVU.
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Enjoyed this book.  The story was a little over the top, but it was interesting enough to keep the reader reading.  When one mystery becomes another, and then another and another......  The characters are likeable and well fleshed the reader learns enough of their backstory to understand their reasons to keep investigating the crimes.
while balancing their personal lives.  It is a good quick read.
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