Publisher: Harvill Secker | Publication date: 14th January 2016
Not having had the pleasure of reading one of Eva Dolan’s books before, I was a little concerned that I’d be able to jump into a series at book three and actually get away with it, as it were. Well, I’m pleased to say the stealthy plot stole most of my day until I’d finished. Heck, I’m not complaining. It was a whirlwind of read, which didn’t dodge sensitive subject matters, and its suspense was a killer.
Although there are references to a previous case, I didn’t feel the author left me drifting without a paddle, and for that I’m grateful. Yes, my curiosity was certainly piqued as to past events, but there’s nothing at all to interfere with this imposing storyline, as casual references to the characters’ history only succeeded in layering their lives in the now.
Our investigating duo are detectives Zigic and Ferreira. There’s a lasting impression throughout that a nasty incident in book two has resulted in Ferreira being a little withdrawn from her post but still determined, as she strives to rehabilitate herself by pushing herself to the limit and beyond. She’s a complex one, not giving too much of herself away, but not overly moody either. Zigic seems like decent, down-to-earth chap. His wife is expecting their third child and the everyday domesticity of decorating the nursery is a far cry from the confused scene of crime he is called to attend…
A gas explosion in a property leads the team to the outskirts of the village and to a neighbouring house where two bodies lie undiscovered. Disturbing circumstances already you may think, but the crime scene presents more difficulties than originally suspected. Ferreira has been there before, you see, as the family had appeared on her radar as a target of a hate crime, her team’s investigative speciality.
When Dawn Prentice is found savagely murdered in the supposed safety of her own home, the immediate reaction is one of absolute horror. But the worst is to come as Holly, her disabled daughter who paralysed during a climbing accident, is discovered upstairs having apparently been neglected for a period of days. It begs the question as to how much her daughter had suffered and why no one popped in to check in on them, not even Holly’s own father.
The case leaves Ferreira haunted by her last attempt to contact the family, remembering how she hit a brick wall with the investigation before pushing it to once side to pursue other pressing cases. Current leads guide the team into the darker territory of abuse from an anonymous source, the deceased’s relationship with old friends, and new acquaintances. AND it doesn’t stop there. Alarm bells are ringing for a mysterious and troubled young foster boy who hasn’t been seen since the tragedy, while a hostile woman known only as Rachel is threatening his every move. Her involvement provides an edgy tangent for the team to pursue. She’s the perfectly elusive character, who has a few tricks up her sleeve to hinder Zigic’s day, appearing to force the case down a needlessly frustrating alley.
After You Die has an essence of unpredictability. The brilliance of this unsettling story is, just when you think you have it sussed a whisper of a new lead will put doubt in your mind as nothing is quite as it seems. And our crime duo are champions at being human, making the odd mistake and facing the fallout as and when it happens. I like that, and have no hesitation in giving After You Die a raving 5/5.
(HUGE thanks to Eva Dolan and the publishers for arranging a proof copy of her book for review purposes.)
(Courtesy of Amazon UK)
The previous summer she had logged a number of calls detailing the harassment she and her severely disabled teenage daughter were undergoing. Now she is dead – stabbed to death whilst Holly Prentice has been left to starve upstairs. DS Ferreira, only recently back serving on the force after being severely injured in the line of duty, had met with Dawn that summer. Was she negligent in not taking Dawn’s accusations more seriously? Did the murderer even know that Holly was helpless upstairs while her mother bled to death?
Whilst Ferreira battles her demons, determined to prove she’s up to the frontline, DI Zigic is drawn into conflict with an official seemingly resolved to hide the truth about one of his main suspects. Can either officer unpick the truth about mother and daughter, and bring their killer to justice?
(Courtesy of Publisher’s Press Release)
Eva Dolan is an Essex-based copywriter and intermittently successful poke player. Shortlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association Dagger for unpublished writers when she was just a teenager, her debut novel Long Way Home, the start of a major new crime series starring two detectives from the Peterborough Hate Crimes Unit, was published in 2014 to widespread critical acclaim.
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