I always look forward to the beginning of December and opening my advent calendar. I might not this year. Susi Holliday’s The Deaths of December follows detectives Eddie Carmine and Becky Greene (good festive colour names!) as they try to track down a serial killer following the delivery of a rather macabre advent calendar to their office. Behind the doors of this calendar aren’t cute robins, wise men travelling on donkeys or shiny stars but crime scenes. And not just pictures, but photographs of actual crime scenes. It seems that a serial killer has been carrying out murders for the past twenty years, with twenty crime scene photos behind the calendar doors. With four doors without victims, can the police track the killer before there are another four photos to fill the remaining days?
The Deaths of December was a book which started off as an intriguing read for me as the detectives began to realise that this was not an elaborate hoax. Before long though I found it a real page-turner as Carmine and Greene uncovered more clues and got closer to catching up with the killer. Chapters from the point of view of ‘the photographer’ were very creepy and gave a whole different perspective on the story. There was more than one jaw-dropping revelation in the book which took the story spinning off in a direction I didn’t expect, making it very personal for the detectives. I have to say that Susi Holliday’s characterisation is excellent throughout the book with all of the characters feeling completely realistic whether police, potential victim or the killer.
This is certainly not a cosy Christmas story with snow falling, twinkly lights and a happy ever after ending for the hero and heroine. But if you are a fan of police procedurals and are looking for a darker read this Christmas you won’t be disappointed. I’m not sure if Susi Holliday is planning this to be the beginning of a new series but I would love to read more about Carmine and Greene so I do hope so. If you haven’t already read this author’s excellent Banktoun series, I highly recommend you read them too. You can read my reviews if you’d like to by clicking on the titles: Black Wood, Willow Walk or The Damsefly.
My thanks to Rosie Stephen at Hodder & Stoughton for my review copy of the book. The Deaths of December is published by Mulholland Books in both paperback and ebook formats. You can order a copy online here: The Deaths of December
Also thanks to the publishers, I have a paperback copy of the book to giveaway. Just click the link below for your chance to enter. You can enter up to midnight on Friday 24th November and I will contact the winner within 24 hours. UK entries only please.
From the back of the book
The hunt is on for a serial killer in this thrilling festive crime novel.
It looks like a regular advent calendar.
Until DC Becky Greene starts opening doors…and discovers a crime scene behind almost every one.
The police hope it’s a prank. Because if it isn’t, a murderer has just surfaced – someone who’s been killing for twenty years.
But why now? And why has he sent it to this police station?
As the country relaxes into festive cheer, Greene and DS Eddie Carmine must race against time to catch the killer. Because there are four doors left, and four murders will fill them…
It’s shaping up to be a deadly little Christmas.
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