If Looks Could Kill by Olivia Kiernan #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on book three in the DCS Frankie Sheehan series by Olivia Kiernan, If Looks Could Kill.

If Looks Could Kill: Innocence is nothing. Appearance is everything. (Frankie Sheehan 3) by [Olivia Kiernan]


DCS Frankie Sheehan is experiencing a crisis of confidence – having become wary of the instincts that have led her face-to-face with a twisted killer and brought those she loves into direct jeopardy.

She is summoned to the rural Wicklow mountains, where local mother of two, Debbie Nugent, has been reported missing. A bloody crime scene is discovered at Debbie’s home, yet no body. Not only is foul play suspected, but Debbie’s daughter, Margot, has been living with the scene for three days.

Aware her team cannot convict Margot on appearances alone, Sheehan launches a full investigation into Debbie Nugent’s life. And, before long, the discrepancies within Debbie’s disappearance suggest that some families are built on dangerous deceptions, with ultimately murderous consequences.


If Looks Could Kill is the third book in the DCS Frankie Sheehan series by Olivia Kiernan. I raced through this book, and now that I’ve finished it, I can’t wait to see what happens next. It’s going to be really interesting to see where Frankie and her team go from here.

There is a complex investigation for Frankie and her team to get to grips with. A woman has gone missing, but early signs show that it isn’t likely she’ll turn up alive. Her disappearance is treated almost from the off as a murder investigation. Her daughter is immediately a suspect in the eyes of the police. She acts strangely when Frankie interviews her. But what is the bigger picture here? It’s clear that Frankie thinks that something is not quite right, but she has no idea where her thoughts will take her.

Frankie is a detective who will see things through to the very end, no matter what the consequences might be. That is certainly true in If Looks Could Kill. It’s been fascinating watching her character grow over the last three books. It is hard to see where things will go from here for Frankie and her team, but I am certainly interested to find out; book four can’t come soon enough.

As things began to heat up in the investigation, when Frankie realises what might be at stake here, the darkness really begins to deepen. You get the feeling that she is walking around on eggshells and that any wrong move could have disastrous consequences. I wanted to know what was really the reason behind Debbie’s disappearance. Could it be possible that her daughter was responsible? The writing is taut as the novel races towards its conclusion, and my eyes were glued to the page.

Olivia Kiernan’s books are partly slow-burners, but Olivia Kiernan knows how to keep her readers hooked, and the tension and race to the finish really pick up. There is atmosphere on every single page, and she makes the Irish setting come to life in her writing. The opening chapter sets the scene for what is to come, and that final line made me want to race through the book right at that moment. I was hooked.

If Looks Could Kill is so cleverly plotted. Crime fiction fans, if you’re not yet reading this series, then you’re really missing out. I’ll be waiting as patiently as I can for the next book in the series, which will be going straight to the top of my TBR pile when it’s released.

Publisher: riverrun

Publication date: 23rd July 2020

Print length: 320 pages

If Looks Could Kill is available to buy:

Amazon UK Waterstones

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