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]

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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.

MY THOUGHTS

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

The Killer in Me by Olivia Kiernan #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the second book in the DCS Frankie Sheehan series by Olivia Kiernan, The Killer in Me.

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Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan does not wish to linger on the grisly scene before her eyes. Two mutilated corpses. In a church. In Clontarf. Her profiling background screams one fact: this is just the beginning of a sickening message.

Meanwhile, a 17-year-old case is playing out on a TV documentary, the convicted professing his innocence and historical police errors being exposed daily in the media. Frankie’s superior, commissioner Donna Hegarty, makes no bones about who she expects to clean things up – both in terms of past mishandlings and the present murders.

But not everyone working the cases wants the truth to come out. And the corridors of power have their own vested interest. Soon Frankie pinpoints just what is making her so nervous: the fact that anyone could be the next victim when justice is the killer.

The Killer In Me is a fast-paced thriller in which lies are safer than the truth, the past is never far from the present, and the ability to kill could well, it seems, live in everyone.

MY THOUGHTS

The Killer in Me is the second book in Olivia Kiernan’s DCS Frankie Sheehan series. In the opening pages, Frankie is asked to look again at a seventeen-year-old case by her sister-in-law, Tanya West. Sean Hennessy was convicted of the murder of his parents and the attempted murder of his younger sister. Now, with the help of a new documentary and a charity, Justice Meets Justice, he is trying to appeal his earlier conviction. But Frankie is still convinced of his guilt. However, this still doesn’t stop her from taking an interest in the case and looking at it again. Now, with Sean’s return to his hometown, a series of new murders take place. But is Sean responsible as the media and the police come to believe? What would make him commit these murders when he is trying to protest his innocence for the murder of his parents?

Olivia Kiernan’s engaging writing draws you into the story from the very first page. I really liked DCS Frankie Sheehan in the first book, Too Close To Breathe, and she’s fast becoming a favourite character of mine in crime fiction. She is also one of the most intriguing characters I’ve come across recently. There are many different strands to these investigations that Frankie has to navigate her way through to get to the truth.

In the opening pages, a fresh investigation launches when the bodies of a man and woman, husband and wife, are found outside a church. The priest is one of the first to shoot to the top of the list of suspects. But it isn’t long before a link is drawn to Sean Hennessy. The crime scene has been designed to send the police a message. But what message?

I was really intrigued by both the fresh murders which have taken place and Sean Hennessy’s appeal to overturn his conviction. Like Frankie, I couldn’t really see how his new case could be presented, especially after the damming evidence against him the first time around. I could see there would have to be something pretty spectacular that would need to come to light, to be within a chance of having his guilty verdict overturned.

The plot really makes you think about the characters, especially those who are involved in the crime. I found that I was studying those who came under suspicion even more as I was reading. The police procedural aspect of the plot feels really authentic. I particularly liked the small-town setting on the coast of Ireland as well. Olivia Kiernan brings to landscape life, and she makes you feel as though you are there. It’s what makes this book really atmospheric.

Olivia Kiernan has created another brilliant, addictive read. I’m really excited to catch up on the third book. This is turning into a top crime series, and I would highly recommend it to crime fiction lovers.

Publisher: riverrun

Publication date: 4th April 2019

Print length: 352 pages

The Killer in Me is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones