Member Reviews

4* - would've been a 5* tale had it not been for the 'cancelled search' on a certain person right who kept turning up for no reason at the end of the tale.

This was my intro to the author and this detective series. I liked that it's set in the UK and feels low key and believable compared to US books that tend to be more glossy, more for show, with less of an emphasis on the personal lives of the characters.

The book had me taken in until just before the end, when Karen herself provided clarity that a person being 'fingered' as a murderer couldn't be, given she'd been in his presence a few minutes ago. There was a bit of repetition about keys and about the accuser contradicting themselves, which is where all became clear and fell apart a bit. Karen should have put two and two together at that point and gotten 4, having just done the same and gotten 5 - she's a DCI after all - so she let herself down. Until then, this was on track to be a 5* read for me, but for the lack of insight when it was glaringly just a process of elimination to determine if Person A or Person B was the killer. I'm unclear why the editors didn't pick up on that. Hmm.

Still, it's worth a read and I might check for a back catalogue and upcoming books, too.

ARC courtesy of Thomas and Mercer books and Netgalley, for my reading pleasure.

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This is the 8th book in the series. I had not read the previous books but didn't feel lost.
I enjoyed reading this book and recommend it for anyone who likes British police procedurals.

A young, inexperienced member of Detective Karen Hart's team had messed up a little previously, and was determined to prove her worth to her coworkers. She has an agreement to meet with a possible informant in a part of town that is deserted after the shops close up. Alone, and after dark. She is feeling more and more nervous when she hears a sound, and is attacked and left to die. She had told no one what she was doing so it was hours before she was found and taken to the hospital. Since Sophie was in a coma, her police group had to try to figure out what she was doing and what lead she was following.

I received an e-arc from publisher Thomas & Mercer via NetGalley and voluntarily read and reviewed this book.

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This book follows up the previous book, Find her Alive (and is book 8 in the series), and thus Sophie, is out to prove how valuable she is to the team, and makes a bad decision. That decision ends up getting her hurt badly and casts doubt into her relationships, as no one knew what she was up to, so the team has to start at square one, with her family/relationships and work. This adds additional stress to the team and to Karen, who has both be boss and friend to her team members. Add in a foe from the past who now wants something from Karen, in return for helping her, and you have a plot twist that keeps you reading late into the night!

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This is an ever improving series featuring DS Karen Hart and set in Lincolnshire. I love the team dynamics as Karen struggles to find who assaulted Sophie, one of her team. The characterisation is excellent, as Karen moves on from the tragedy in her life, and the plotting was very good. There is plenty action to keep the reader interested, it's fast paced to the end and wrapped up very nicely for the next book. Another 5* read from the author. Thanks to Net Galley for my ARC.

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The eighth book in the Detective Karen Hart series gets off to a great start when her mentee DC Sophie Jones gets viciously attacked whilst out on her own trying to prove her worth as a detective to Karen and the team. Investigating Sophie's attack soon becomes a much bigger investigation involving Karen's nemesis Quentin Chapman. The story is a great read. It moves along at a fair pace always managing to keep the reader's attention. Although I did guess 'who dun it' quite early on, this in no way detracted from the story as a whole. I thoroughly enjoyed all the Karen Hart books and this one is no exception.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read an advance copy. All opinions are my own.

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I would like to thank Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer for an advance copy of Before the Dawn, the eighth novel to feature DS Karen Hart of Lincolnshire Police.

DC Sophie Jones is attacked and left for dead outside a row of workshops. Karen is determined to work the case and starts interviewing the workshop employees. She is surprised that one has links to the man she is constantly investigating, local gangster Quentin Chapman. He denies any involvement and turns the tables by asking for her help as someone is killing his associates.

I thoroughly enjoyed Before the Dawn, which starts with a shocking event and continues from there with plenty of twists and tension. It is told entirely from Karen’s point of view, so the reader can share her heartache at Sophie’s injuries and live a very personal investigation with her. It also means that the reader can investigate alongside her through the twists, false starts and high emotions. I must admit that I guessed the perpetrator, if not the motive (I had a far more lurid scenario in mind), ahead of time. Not that it mattered as the final chapters are full of enough high drama and excitement to keep any reader glued to the pages.

This is an emotional read due to Sophie’s life hanging the balance, but also due to storyline that makes Karen reflect on her past. There are frayed tempers, doubts, worry and tension as the case doesn’t move forward fast enough for Sophie’s colleagues. Having said that, case might move slowly, but the novel doesn’t. Each small piece of information seems to bring a new suspect, while Karen is mentally tangoing with Quentin Chapman, trying to work out his involvement and then his angle. She thinks he is being truthful, but past experience suggests manipulation. It’s moreish.

I like Karen Hart. She has had more than her fair share of tragedy and this case adds to it, but there’s an optimism in her character that the reader warms to. She draws comfort from friends, even if she’s mistrustful of those outside her inner circle thanks to lessons learned in her past. She’s a real person, not always sure of herself, but supportive and warm.

Before the Dawn is a good read that I have no hesitation in recommending.

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A fantastic Karen Hart murder mystery story, it was interesting to see Hart and Chapman working together. I look forward to reading more

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Fantastic next story in the Detective Hart series!

Butler is a master storyteller, and Before the Dawn is no exception. The story starts off with a bang and a tension level of 10, and never lets up. What follows is a race to the finish, with a perfect combination of fast paced action and thorough character development.

I love it when a novel feels like a tv drama in my head, but only for my viewing pleasure. This is a prime example of excellent storytelling.

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This time DI Karen Hart and her team have a personal interest when one of their own is attacked. Without any indication of what DC Jones was investigating, the team must consider many angles, from drugs to sex trafficking. Throw in a small gangland war and a surprise birthday party for Karen's beau and you have a diverting thriller.

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It is remarkable how the author is able to maintain this series fresh after eight volumes. In this case, Sophie is sidelined from the investigation for the simple reason that she is the victim. Karen and her team shortly zero in on Quentin Chapman, a known criminal that no one has been able to take down. But is he really involved? I really thought that I knew whodunit from the beginning and, oh, how predictable… until I realized that I was dead wrong. The author cleverly manipulated this reader’s expectations and lead me to the wrong conclusion. The final reveal was unexpected but made sense. My favorite part, however, is the chemistry amongst the members of the team, and how they all react in different ways to Sophie being hurt. I also love the evolution of Karen’s relationship with Mike. As with the previous volumes, I really enjoyed this new book in this exceptional series.
I chose to read this book and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. Thank you, #NetGalley/#Thomas & Mercer.

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A police procedural set in Lincolnshire. One of a series, it is fine as a stand alone. A good read on the whole, the plot has some twists but stands up well. Some background stories about Karen's personal life.
If I were to criticize, perhaps the investigating team are quick to jump to conclusions, though I enjoyed the book.
Thanks to Net Galley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review

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Yet again, another great read from D.S. Butler, following Detective Karen Hart, investigating the attempted murder of one of her team members.

Great storyline, involving the local mobster she´s been after for years, and surprisingly end up helping each other.

Although being no.8 in the series, you can easily read it as a standalone, or even better, read the previous 7!

My thanks to NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for giving me the opportunity to read an advanced digital copy in return for an honest review.

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When DC Sophie Jones is viciously attacked, Detective Karen Hart and her team must pull together and find out who is responsible and why. When links to a local mobster come up, it seems like the obvious answer...but is it? Another great entry to the series. This one was tense and thrilling and kept me on the edge of my seat until the shocking ending. Brilliant!

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This is the book #8 in the Detective Karen Hart series. I really enjoyed the mystery and can’t wait to read the next installment and see what happens next.

Detective Karen Hart may be facing one of her most emotional cases yet when she is called to the scene of a brutal attack and the victim is DC Sophie Jones.

Karen and her team must now find out why Sophie was in the location and who attacked her. Was she investigating a case? Could her boyfriend have harmed her?

A potential link to mobster Quentin Chapman, whom Karen has been trying to put away for years, is soon discovered. He needs Karen's help but can she trust him?

Will she find out the truth and will Sophie survive the horrible injuries she sustained?

Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Before The Dawn is the latest book in the Karen Hart series by D.S. Butler. I really enjoyed this book as one of Karen’s team member was attacked and left for death. While the member lies in a hospital bed fighting for her life the team is working day and night to solve the case. The author kept me guessing to the end. Thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for this arc.

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To begin, I’d like to thank Thomas & Mercer for sending me an ARC of this book, and to NetGalley for facilitating. And a huge thank you to D. S. Butler!

No spoilers as usual in this review.

This book is part of the Karen Hart series - so if you haven’t read the other books, I would do that first (you won’t regret it). It works as a standalone but to really FEEL the book in all its glory, you should read the other books.

This was such a traumatic read for me. Over the course of the series I’ve gotten to know the characters very well and they feel almost real. So Sophie being attacked was a bitter pill to start with and the whole book has a lingering feeling of anxiety while we (as the reader), and they (the other characters) are awaiting further updates on her condition.

Outside of that anxiety is a solid detective story that we’ve come to expect from D. S. Butler. It was exciting, fast paced, complex in its layers. I was so happy with this book.

The character development, when taken from the beginning of the series, has been really satisfying. And the growth seen in this book has really been key to that, for me. Seeing Karen meet Mikes parents for example - reflecting on who Karen was and where she was in the first of the series, it was such a big step.

The arc of Chapman was done beautifully. Rather than pure hatred for the man, I actually found myself warming to him, which meant I could understand entirely how conflicted Karen Hart must have been feeling also.

And the key question for me when finishing any detective novel is: did I guess who the culprit was? Because of how many in this genre I have read, the answer is usually yes. But I’m happy to report that with the exception of a 2 minute moment somewhere in the book (which I discounted as there were others far more likely in my mind), no, I did not know in advance of the big reveal. It did come as a surprise to me but actually all fit into place perfectly.

All in all, this was another excellent book by D. S. Butler and I will definitely recommend the series to other readers.

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This is #8 in the DS Karen Hart series but it can easily be read as a standalone.

One of Karen’s own team, DS Sophie Jones, is found badly beaten in a dark industrial estate and is taken to hospital, fighting for her life.

The team firstly assumes that Sophie was in the wrong place at the wrong time, until they investigate further. A garage near where Sophie was found has links to a local mobster who Karen has been trying to nail for years, so the assumption is that he’s the attacker. But then he asks Karen for her help with finding out who’s killing his partners in crime.

A brilliant addition to the series and I’m already looking forward to the next one!

Thank you to NetGalley and Amazon Publishing UK/Thomas & Mercer for an advance reader copy in return for an honest review.

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Before the Dawn: Detective Karen Hart #8 by D. S. Butler was so good! It's nice to be back with familiar characters and a story that unfolds naturally. The author's writing style makes it easy to delve into the story and difficult to put the book down because you just want to find out what is going to happen next.

Before the Dawn is an intriguing crime thriller. The story has well-developed characters and creative twists. Sometimes, you never knew just who to trust, and the information was laid out in a gripping fashion that unraveled the story with intense scenes and suspicious characters.

I am looking forward to more in this series. I would recommend this book, this series, and this author.

#BeforetheDawn #NetGalley @AmazonPub

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I thought this book was a really good physiological thriller after reading the author’s previous books was really looking forward to reading it and it didn’t disappoint. From start to finish it got you hooked and was a really well laid out story with lots of very interesting characters who were so different but was very good the way they were all able to be connected together. Would really highly recommend this book.

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Karen Hart is becoming must read for me!

Karen is back with another mystery that hits close to home. Karen's colleague is brutally attacked in a deserted area which causes more questions than answers.

What was Sophie doing in that location alone, and who had something against her? Karen feels an obligation to solve this crime as it was a colleague and she knows that Sophie looked up to her.

I was torn on this one. It was great to come back and see Karen in more of a supervisory role and the whole side story with her and the local gangster is interesting. Sophie's motives and actions are very questionable, and it leaves the reader wondering if she is really fit for police work.

There are several things thrown at you, and it is a little frustrating for Karen to keep reminding herself that things are not always what they seem, but then not using that at times when it was critical. It is very obvious early on who the attacker is, but we are given so many red herrings that if you are not careful, you might blink and miss it. What starts out as an attack on police officer, bleeds over into something far wider reaching and more sinister.

On a personal note, it is good to see Karen moving forward after all the tragedy in her life. I feel the supporting characters were not given enough to do, and it does leave you wondering where things stand for at least one person....their actions are never fully explained and they may be in another story.

All in all, the action and "clue gathering" is interesting and holds your attention. I would recommend this book and look forward to the next one in the series, which may answer some of the questions.

I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for a review by Net Galley and the publisher.

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