The Woman in the Wood by M.K. Hill #bookreview #crimefiction

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the latest book in the DI Sasha Dawson series by M.K. Hill, The Woman in the Wood.


A reality TV star becomes a suspect in an Essex murder case in the sharp, funny and moving new thriller from M.K. Hill

Three years ago, Danny ‘Abs’ Cruikshank, star of reality show Laid in Essex!, was living the dream. And then, on the night of the party, everything changed.

It was supposed to be an intimate weekend gathering. Just a few close friends in a remote cottage in Wales. But after a night of heavy drinking in the village pub, a local girl was reported missing, presumed dead. Abs and his friends had been the last to see her alive.

No-one was ever charged, but the controversy destroyed Abs’s career. So now, three years later, the celebrity who once captured the heart of millions is opening Southend’s new branch of Quidstore. And then one of Abs’s mates is murdered. Does someone know what really happened that night in Wales? DI Sasha Dawson and her team must race against the clock to find the killer before they strike again – but first she must discover what happened to Rhiannon Jenkins on the night she vanished. Will the truth set Abs free? Or bury him?


I loved the first book in the DI Sasha Dawson series by M.K. Hill, and I couldn’t wait to read the next book in the series. M.K. Hill’s writing is very engaging, and this time round, in The Woman in the Wood, he delves into the scene of reality TV. Reality TV has seen a huge boom in popularity in recent years, with shows such as Love Island and The Only Way is Essex. It made for an intriguing backdrop to the story, and it gave the book a unique hook.

I personally have never seen the appeal of reality television. The show which M.K. Hill has created in his book, is called Laid in Essex and I can definitely imagine a show such as this existing. A former star of the show, Abs, is one of the central characters in the book. He has been in the limelight for several years now; people recognise him in the street and feel as though they know him, even though they haven’t met him before. M.K. Hill takes you into that world, especially as Abs tries to make a comeback.

Abs was a character who I didn’t really warm to. I thought he was quite unpleasant at times, particularly in the way how he revelled in his fame and how he tried to flirt with women, but that is part of who he is. He can’t talk to someone without a complimentary, cheesy chat-up line. He is haunted by what happened three years ago, when a young woman disappeared while he was in Wales, he was once labelled a suspect in the disappearance, but no evidence could be found against him. And when one of his friends who was with him at the time is killed, it sends him into a panic frenzy. He fears that because of what happened in Wales they are now being targeted.

M.K. Hill’s writing made this book a very addictive read. I really wanted to know what Abs and his friends were hiding about what happened three years earlier. I also wanted to know who was targeting them, and M.K. Hill throws in several twists, which will keep you turning the pages. The final chapters were very chilling as the truth was revealed.

You don’t need to have read The Bad Place to enjoy this book, but I would highly recommend that you do so. DI Sasha Dawson is a great character, and this is turning into an exciting, must-read crime series. I hope that there are going to be many more books in the series to come.

Publisher: Head of Zeus

Publication date: 4th March 2021

Print length: 432 pages

The Woman in the Wood is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

The Bad Place by M.K. Hill #bookreview @markhillwriter @HoZ_Books

Happy publication day to Mark Hill. His latest book The Bad Place is the start of a brand new crime series featuring DI Sasha Dawson and it is published today.

The Bad Place (A Sasha Dawson Thriller Book 1) by [Hill, M.K.]


The newspapers called it The Bad Place. A remote farm out on the Thames estuary, where six children were held captive for two weeks. Five of them got out alive.

That was twenty years ago. Now adults, they meet up annually to hold a candlelit vigil for their friend who died. The only rule is that no-one can talk about what happened the night they escaped. But at this year’s event, one of them witnesses a kidnapping. A young girl, Sammi, is bundled into a van in front of their eyes.

Is history repeating itself? Is one of them responsible? Or is someone sending them a twisted message?

DI Sasha Dawson, of Essex Police, is certain that the key to finding Sammi lies in finding out the truth about The Bad Place. But she also knows that with every second she spends trying to unlock the past, the clock ticks down for the missing girl…


The Bad Place is an excellent start to a new crime series by M.K. Hill, which I enjoyed reading very much indeed. We witness the kidnapping of six children when their kidnapper hijacks the minibus they are travelling in. He takes them to a remote location which becomes infamously known as The Bad Place to the press. But just what happened there has remained shrouded in mystery, with many people believing that the people directly involved in the kidnapping have not told the full truth. And why did only five of the children escape?

The Bad Place is a thriller where nothing is at it seems. Many years after the terrifying kidnapping took place, the children who were involved, now adults, still meet up and raise a toast to the friend they lost that night. It’s their own way of remembering her, even though some of them no longer see eye to eye. During one evening, when they are hosting a planned get-together, one of them witnesses a kidnapping. It terrifies her into thinking that their kidnapper has returned, but how could it be him when he was killed on the night they were rescued? We are then introduced to DI Sasha Dawson, who was a constable in the police force when the five children were found.

I really liked Sasha. She is determined to put the victims of the crimes first at the forefront of her mind. But her dedication to her work does garner some criticism from her mother. Sasha’s mother fears Sasha is letting her family slip by the wayside and this begins to cause a lot of frictions. Sasha’s mother is quick to let her feelings be known, which does cause some tension between them. Sasha’s home and work life are weaved together very well, and there was a very good balance between the two.

As I was reading this book, I kept thinking that there must be some truth in the speculation that something very dark had yet to be uncovered. After the young girl is kidnapped in the present day I had suspicions about a few people who I thought could be involved. There were quite a few red herrings planted which were skilfully weaved into the story and I didn’t predict the final outcome.

The book had such a chilling opening, and I was hooked right away. I flicked through the pages as fast as I could to find out how everything was going to come together at the end. When the final revelations were revealed, I couldn’t believe what I was reading.

The Bad Place is a brilliant introduction to DI Sasha Dawson, and I am definitely keen to read more books featuring her. You’ll be racking your brains right the way through trying to work out just what is going on here and when the final truth hits, it will be shocking.  Very, very good.

Publisher: Head of Zeus

Publication date: 5th September 2019

Print length: 368 pages

If you would like to purchase The Bad Place, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones