The Sweetheart Killer

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Book 2 of DI Sebastian Locke Mysteries
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Pub Date 18 Apr 2024 | Archive Date 29 Mar 2024

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Loving him might be the last thing they do…

Stevie Gordon is lonely, filling her time by stalking her ex-boyfriend, James Cowley. He might be married, but neither his wife nor his girlfriend knows as much about him as Stevie does.

But when James’ latest mistress is brutally murdered, her body carefully posed amongst the bluebells of Thamespark, Stevie is as shocked as anyone. But with her troubled childhood taking a toll on her mind, and her heavy drinking leading to frequent blackouts, can Stevie really know she is innocent?

DI Sebastian Locke and the Thamespark squad are drawn into an urgent murder case, but as they delve deeper, they find links to a previous victim, with all the clues pointing back to James. As another innocent is targeted, Stevie becomes increasingly terrified that her own mind is betraying her.

But, is she capable of murder? And if not, who else is watching in the shadows?

A twisty, unputdownable detective novel that fans of Cara Hunter and Mark Billingham will love.

Loving him might be the last thing they do…

Stevie Gordon is lonely, filling her time by stalking her ex-boyfriend, James Cowley. He might be married, but neither his wife nor his girlfriend knows...

Advance Praise

PRAISE FOR THE QUIET DEAD (book one in the series)

‘A fabulous introduction to DI Sebastian Locke…a new hero (and fictional crush!) is born. A cast of liars and cheats makes for a thrilling and tantalising tale.’ Sam Holland

‘A brilliantly twisty cold case novel which gradually unfurls to reveal the chilling truth.’ Marion Todd

‘A perfect blend of mystery and psychological thriller…Dramatically and emotionally stirring…whilst also providing edge-of-your-seat thrills.’ Dominic Nolan

PRAISE FOR THE QUIET DEAD (book one in the series)

‘A fabulous introduction to DI Sebastian Locke…a new hero (and fictional crush!) is born. A cast of liars and cheats makes for a thrilling and...

Available Editions

ISBN 9781804364888
PRICE £1.99 (GBP)

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Average rating from 22 members

Featured Reviews

This was a great book. I loved every paragraph, every sentence and every word of this masterpiece! I read it in 12 hours, which is a lot for me to do! It had everything and more laid out in the novel! I sure hope There is more to come from this author! I am totally hooked!

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3.5 stars. I like this detective and the killer plot line and hunt was good with ever changing suspects. I figured a few were too obvious but the end surprised me anyway. There were a few too many characters introduced with their own POV - it was hard to keep track of them for the first part of the book. I'll have to find the first book for this detective and see what happens.

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4/5 stars. This one gave me such creepy vibes and felt very similar to Freida McFadden’s thrillers. I love thrillers that focus on small little
details and I loved that about this book. It was such a page turner and I sped through it. I had two main guesses in my head and one of them turned out to be right!! Thank you to NetGalley for this copy, check it out when it comes out

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Wow, another great story featuring DI Locke! This story was a pretty dark one. Aside from the murders, we have a protagonist that is obsessed to a dangerous point, and some seriously screwed up family dynamics. I knew who the killer was the instant they were introduced, but for one reason only: they were exactly who I would have picked had I written the story. That’s it. There was nothing really to tell me otherwise. There were so many red herrings, I’m honestly surprised I guessed right. This story had so much going on, but in a really good way. And the B stories were so incredibly sad. Instead of hating Stevie like I normally would for all of her insane antics, I felt really sorry for her. She is so damaged, and the damage gets worse and worse as you go through the story. It’s no wonder she acts the way she does. The ending was truly satisfying though. I’ll definitely be reading the next one in this series!

Huge thanks to Hera and NetGalley for sending me this ARC for review! All of my reviews are given honestly!

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A great mystery/psychological thriller. Plenty of red herrings and an ending i did not see coming.
This really sucked me in from the start and an easy five stars from me.

My thanks to netgalley and the publisher for my copy.

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Stevie Gordon is stalking her ex boyfriend's mistress. She is a product of abuse by her mother, and feels unloved and unwanted.
The mistress, Hannah is found dead, posed among the bluebells.
The injuries, however, are the same as a murder that DI Seb Locke heard about from the ME.
The investigation shows that the murder victims have links to James, Stevie's ex boyfriend.

I really thought I had predicted the murderer. I was totally wrong, but there are many red herrings in this book. Everyone seems to be a suspect.

Well plotted, with twists you never saw coming.

I felt pity for Stevie and her mother, and James was truly unlikeable.

Thanks to Netgalley and Hera Publishers for the opportunity to read this book.

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Stevie Gordon is lonely and she's filling her time by stalking her ex, James! But his wife or his few girlfriends don't know as much about him as Stevie does! But when James latest squeeze gets brutally murdered Stevie is as shocked as anyone! But then childhood trauma and blackout drinking leaves Stevie wondering is she really innocent?! DI Locke and his squad are on the case! They also find a previous murder with links to this case! Can they catch the bad guy before more murders happen?! Can Stevie figure out what's going on or is it really her?!! This book was a great thriller! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one! I definitely recommend reading this book as it was well worth reading! Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for sharing this book with me!

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This is a terrific book - everything works. Great plot, enough twists and false leads to keep things gripping, amazing characters and natural dialogue. The author leads you carefully down one path before sending you down a seemingly opposite one, all within the context of a carefully constructed reality.

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Another brilliant, twisty thriller from J
Nj Mackay. I was glued to this story and particularly loved the main character Stevie. Lots murder mystery with unpredictable leads and some really untrustworthy characters. A great story with a fantastic 'never saw it coming' twist. Highly recommended xx

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The premise is great. I feel like I would have a different response to the book had I read Book #1. I didn’t realize this was a sequel as the synopsis nor Goodreads mentioned it.

Since it was easy for me to follow, it works as a standalone aside from not understanding the relation/backstory of a few characters to the main detective.

I enjoyed the writer’s style as I was able to picture it as an episode of L&O SVU - great procedural process.

The story is engaging. For who I thought was responsible bounced between two possibilities. The outcome was a wee bit outlandish, but in regards to human behavior/societal norms, to commit murders isn’t normal behavior to begin with right?! ;)

3.5 stars, rounding up to 4

Thank you for the opportunity to read and review.

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Great book! Short chapters and it was super easy to get lost in and just keep reading and reading! The ending was great and definitely surprised me.

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"I learnt years ago that whilst people always say they want the truth, few really do, because the truth can be an ugly thing."

I absolutely loved this second book in DI Sebastian Locke series.
From the very beginning the author did not fail to capture my attention and keep me engrossed in this thrilling police procedural read.
The pacing of this one was even better than the first and did not have any fluff whatsoever. I enjoyed the snippets of Seb's home life and his developing relationship with Faye. The chemistry between him and his team was dynamic and held little pieces of humor that lightened the mood of the book.
I also think the author did an exceptional job with Stevie's character. Although some of her choices were questionable to say the least, you really felt for her character and could tell that she was just a broken woman trying to overcome her trauma.
Her character added a dramatic element to the book, however, it was skillfully done, adding to the plot and not distracting from it.
The ending was mind-blowing and unexpected, I did suspect it; but was still completely blown away by who the killer was.
It also looks like the third book is going to have an unexpected twist for Seb and his family, I can't wait for it!
I cannot say enough good things about this book, and I highly recommend it.
A solid police procedural thriller.
Thank you Netgalley, Hera Books and NJ Mackay for my eArc of this book. All opinions are 100% my own and I am leaving my review voluntarily.
Pub date: April 18th, 2024

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Dark and engaging!

After James Cowley breaks things off with girlfriend Stevie Gordon, she's unable to quiet her obsessive need to stalk him, and some of those connected to him.

A local teacher, raised in care due to her mother's determination to be unfit, Stevie has many internal battles. Her wobbly mental health (and self-medicating tendencies) lead her to question if she could be responsible for the growing number of young women brutally murdered.

DI Locke and his team were likeable characters, as were all the others. Well written and captivating!

A multitude of red herrings had me guessing (incorrectly) who the murderer was the entire time!

Thanks to NetGally, Hera Publishing and N J Mackay for the ARC.

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Plagued by blackouts and a drinker, Stevie Gordon isn't reliable and her obsession with ex-boyfriend James is far from healthy, especially when she ends up dead.

This was an easy read. I liked the characters, it was well plotted and its short, sharp chapters made it difficult to resist reading just one more. The second in the DI Seb Locke series I had no problems reading it as a standalone novel but having finished it I'll definitely be adding the previous one to my reading list.

My thanks to Hera books and NetGalley for the advance review copy, all opionions expressed are my own.

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Thank you NetGalley for giving me the chance to read this book ahead of time in exchange for a review. You should read it!

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I really loved this book, it was a gripping and anxiety induced wild ride.. Could not put the book down, Never thought it would be the best friend involved. Cannot wait for the rest of the series.

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The Sweetheart Killer is the second book in the DI Sebastian Locke Mysteries series. It can absolutely be read as a standalone; I haven't read The Quiet Dead, but I will absolutely be adding it to my TBR list!

For me, the most intriguing character in this book was Stevie. Everything she did made no sense, yet made perfect sense. Another example of how none of us truly knows someone and we can only ever see what we are shown. I also found her relationship with her mother utterly fascinating. I can't say too much for fear of spoiling the story for people who have not yet read it, but it's an area I would love to read more about.

I'll be honest, I did guess at Whodunnit about halfway through, but I did not get even close to guessing the why. There were also other reveals that, despite having read hundreds of mystery books, I would never have thought of in a million years. Kudos to NJ Mackay and her writing for keeping me guessing until the very end!

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A great thriller. Lots of small details that contribute to the overall story and suspense. This is a quick read that will get you from the start!
Thank you, NetGalley and the publisher for access to this e-ARC.

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Was first from the author and didnt disappoint and hope to read more from the author.

I loved the plot of the book and was easy to follow what was going on. the ending was very much a surprise. This was a multiple POV when it first started it was hard to follow but as you read it was easier to follow.

I didnt realize this was a series and will find first book to read that might be why i was confused at first but it can be read as standalone.

Thanks NetGalley for letting me read and review. .

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This was an amazing book. I highly recommend it to everyone. Great characters and a great plot. I will be looking for more books by this author. The book is superbly written. Lots of twists, turns and shocking turns of events. Quickly becoming a go to author for me!!!! If you love to read a book and be shocked by the ending then check out this author for sure. You will love this book and this author Theo Baxter is the new king of suspense.

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