The Devil’s Claw by Lara Dearman Book Review



Following a traumatic incident in London, Jennifer Dorey has returned to her childhood home in Guernsey, taking a job as a reporter at the local newspaper.

After the discovery of a drowned woman on a beach, she uncovers a pattern of similar deaths that have taken place over the past fifty years.

Together with DCI Michael Gilbert, an officer on the verge of retirement, they follow a dark trail of island myths and folklore to ‘Fritz’, the illegitimate son of a Nazi soldier. His work, painstakingly executed, has so far gone undetected.

But with his identity about to be uncovered, the killer now has Jennifer in his sights.


The Devil’s Claw, by Lara Dearman, is an atmospheric and superbly written debut. In her first novel, Lara takes us to the island of Guernsey where a killer has gone undetected for decades. Now, when the body of a young woman has washed up, journalist Jennifer Dorey and DCI Michael Gilbert, team up to hunt for a killer who has so far managed to evade justice. As Jenny investigates the case she discovers a series of deaths, the victims: all young women with a similar complexion and all suspected of drowning. But what did the police force miss all those years ago and can she and Michael find out what has really been going on?

I loved learning about the location in this book, I have heard little about Guernsey but I was fascinated to hear about the history of the island – particularly about what happened there during the Second World War – as I was reading it often prompted me to Google the places in the book and research the local legends which I was absolutely fascinated by. The inclusion of the local folklore myths (which even Jenny is still unsure if whether she believes in them or not) was a great way of adding to the atmosphere and for me it brought the setting to life.

The relationship between Jennifer and DCI Gilbert is one I’m interested to see develop further. It isn’t often in crime fiction that you see journalists and the police get on well, but in this book they heavily relied upon each other as the investigation progressed. I couldn’t help but think of the possibility of a spark being there between them.

Lara also tells the novel from the viewpoint of the killer. As the book progresses, Lara drip feeds us with information about them as we learn about their past and present history which ultimately leads to a shocking revelation.

This is an excellent start to a series I’m sure that I’ll be keeping an eye on. I can’t wait to read more!

Publisher: Trapeze

Publication date: 30th November 2017

Print length: 368 pages