Splinter in the Blood
by Ashley Dyer
Publication Date : June 12, 2018
Pages : 400
Synopsis from Publisher:
A propulsive debut suspense novel, filled with secrets, nerve-jangling tension, perplexing mystery, and cold-blooded murder, in which a police officer on the hunt for a macabre serial killer is brutally attacked, and only his partner knows the truth about what happened—and who did it.
After months of hunting a cold-blooded murderer that the press has dubbed the Thorn Killer, Detective Greg Carver is shot in his own home. His trusted partner, Ruth Lake, is alone with him. Yet instead of calling for help, she’s rearranged the crime scene and wiped the room clean of prints. But Carver isn’t dead.
Awakening in the hospital, Carver has no memory of being shot, but is certain that his assailant is the Thorn Killer. Though there’s no evidence to support his claim, Carver insists the attack is retaliation, an attempt to scare the detective off the psychopath’s scent, because he’s getting too close. Trapped in a hospital bed and still very weak, Carver’s obsession grows. He’s desperate to get back to work and finally nail the bastard, before more innocent blood is spilled.
One person knows the truth and she’s not telling. She’s also now leading the Thorn Killer investigation while Carver recuperates. It doesn’t matter that Carver and the rest of the force are counting on her, and that more victims’ lives at stake. Ruth is keeping a deadly secret, and she’ll cross every line—sacrificing her colleagues, her career, and maybe even her own life—to keep it from surfacing.
Utterly engrossing and filled with masterfully crafted surprises, Splinter in the Blood is a propulsive roller-coaster ride, filled with deception, nerve-jangling tension, perplexing mystery, and cold-blooded murder.
2018 has been a great year for the strong female lead character in crime fiction. At least every other book I have read this year features a new intriguing leading lady. From police officers, FBI agents, to tarot card readers and nannies, the list just keeps growing and I am loving it. Splinter in the Blood continues this wonderful trend. Dyer takes everything crime fiction readers love about serial killer thrillers and adds a refreshing twist.
When DS Ruth Lake approaches the home of her boss/partner, DCI Greg Carver, late in the evening, she knows something is wrong. Upon entry into the house, she discovers Carver in his armchair bleeding from a gun shot wound to the chest. Rather than calling for help, Lake begins to clean up the scene and removing evidence. This decision sets in motion a chain of events which will affect Lake's life and career.
A traditional serial killer story usually starts with the discovery of the first victim. Readers follow along with police officers as they question witnesses, suspects, and review evidence. About half way through the book, police officers realize they are dealing with a serial killer. The remainder of the story usually revolves around the identification of the killer and their capture. In Splinter in the Blood, Dyer plants readers right in the middle of the investigation. Lake, Carver, and their team already know a serial killer is at work. One element which sets Splinter in the Blood apart from other serial killer fiction books is Carver’s injury. Usually the climax of the book is the injury or death of the overworked but dedicated lead investigator. Splinter in the Blood begins with Lake finding Carver soon after he has been shot. Dyer’s unconventional approach to the story of a serial killer and the detectives who are trying to catch the them is fresh and innovative.
Before DS Lake joined the Major Investigation Team, she was a Crime Scene Investigator. This is yet another way Dyer has managed to set Splinter in the Blood apart from other serial killer thrillers. When Lake is investigating crimes she is doing so with two minds, a detective and a Crime Scene Investigator. This sort of duel perspective within the same character made reading Splinter in the Blood even more enjoyable.
I do enjoy serial killer thrillers but I must admit, I sometimes find this genre repetitive and predictable. When I pick up a book in this genre I usually expect a great story, with likable characters and a few twist and turns but the ending sometimes comes up short. This usually does not matter for me because I found the characters so interesting and savored the character development. While Splinter in the Blood is short on character development (this is usually a negative for me), I found it no less pleasurable to read. Dyer gives readers just enough background so they will know there is much to learn about these characters.
I know I focused a lot on the differences between Splinter in the Blood and other serial killer thrillers, but it is these differences that make it so special and why I l enjoyed it so much. Most books in this genre are loaded with character development. Readers learn each aspect of the main characters. Sometimes the investigation takes a back seat in the story. This is not the case with Splinter in the Blood. Readers looking for a detailed yet comprehensive investigation driven story will devour Splinter in the Blood.
** Thanks to William Morrow for my free review copy of Splinter in the Blood**
Murder and Moore Rating:
5 out of 5 Stars