Thursday, 23 November 2017

Publication Day Blast! 5* review - Helen Phifer Dying Breath

Take a breath. Pray it’s not your last.

Just a few months after a terrifying case that nearly took her life, Detective Lucy Harwin is back with her squad in the coastal town of Brooklyn Bay – and this time, she’s faced with a case more horrifying than anything she’s encountered.

Along with her partner, Detective Mattie Jackson, Lucy is investigating what appears to be a vicious but isolated murder; a woman found bludgeoned to death on a lonely patch of wasteland. 

But when a second victim is discovered strangled in an alleyway, then a young family shot in their own home, Lucy and the team must face the unthinkable reality - a killer is walking the streets of their quiet coastal town. 

While Lucy and the team try to find the link between these seemingly unconnected murders, they uncover a disturbing truth – these murders are replicating those carried out by infamous serial killers. 

Lucy must get to the killer before he strikes again. But he’s got his sights on her, and is getting ever closer… Can she save herself, before she becomes the final piece in his twisted game?


I loved Dark House (previously The Lost Children) by Helen Phifer, a change from her supernatural thrillers to gritty serial killing murder, and was thrilled to find that Detective Lucy Harwin would be back for more.

The action begins thick and fast with the brutal murder of a woman, told from the killer's point of view (the dual narrative is something I love about these books, an insight into the killer's mind) and Lucy and her team know quickly that this is no ordinary murder as the bodies begin to mount up - even a historical case is thrown into the mix as a skeleton is also discovered. Poor Lucy, these things always happen to her!

The murders are all very different, not showing the clear MO of a 'normal' serial killer, it seems this one is taking a very different, calculated and gruesome path, and later in the book it becomes clear why - which in my mind was one of the best and cleverest parts of the plot. But as normal it takes the team down a very winding path - and an extremely dangerous one for Lucy as things get personal. 

The twists and turns are awesome and unexpected, I thought I'd nailed the killer quite early in the book (I was so proud of myself, however,  I couldn't have been more wrong). I love the dynamics and interaction of the team and how they all gel, the mark of a very good writer. I love all the characters, and truly respect Helen's skill of writing kick ass female protagonists. 

The books moves quickly and really keeps you turning the pages, especially once you're in the killer's mind, and all culminates in an explosive ending that made my heart beat especially fast!

Another series from Helen that leaves you wanting more. Another fantastic 5* read.

About Helen:

Helen Phifer lives in a small town called Barrow-in-Furness with her husband and five children.

Helen has always loved writing and reading. Her love of horror films and novels is legendary. Helen adores reading books which make the hair on the back of her neck stand on end. Unable to find enough scary stories to read she decided to write her own. 

Helen’s debut novel 'The Ghost House' was published by Carina UK in October 2013 and went on to become a best seller along with the rest of the Annie Graham series. The Secrets of the Shadows, The Forgotten Cottage, The Lake House, The Girls in the Woods and The Face Behind the Mask.

The Good Sisters is a standalone horror story which will scare the pants off you or so her lovely readers have told her. It scared Helen when she was writing it so she pretty much agrees with them.

March 2017 saw the release of psychological thriller Dark House (previously called The Lost Children), book 1 in the Detective Inspector Lucy Harwin series. 
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