The Deaths of December: A cracking Christmas crime thriller Paperback – 16 Nov 2017
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A cracking read. The perfect Christmas gift for crime fans (C. L. Taylor)
A quirky, cleverly plotted crime story (Sunday Mirror)
Dark and satisfying, it is a fine antidote to Christmas cheer (Daily Mail)
A fun, festive twisted tale that's detonated by a killer midpoint twist I did not see coming. Wrap yourself in a duvet, grab a glass of eggnog and ask: should I answer the door? This book sleighed it. Adds a whole new meaning to Happy Hollidays. (Angela Clarke, author of Follow Me)
Perfect Christmas crime fiction (Steve Cavanagh)
A great read - pacy, clever and impossible to put down. (Mark Edwards)
A brilliant read! (Louise Voss)
A pacy, clever, and twisted festive treat with characters who sparkle darkly. I loved this killer Christmas tale! (Amanda Jennings, author of In Her Wake)
This twisted take on a cherished Christmas tradition is perfect for readers looking for a break from the festive cheer. (Daily Express)
Combining excellent characterisation with an utterly gripping plot, Susi Holliday has provided a Christmas gift that will chill you to your bones (Luca Veste)
When the advent calendar is delivered to the police station, no one takes any notice... until they open it to find a murder behind every door. The hunt is on for a serial killer in this thrilling festive crime novel.See all Product description
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What is the attraction of a Christmas crime novel that we all seem to enjoy reading? Those of us who enjoy a cracking crime read look forward to the festive period when we can relax with a killer of a crime novel. But Susi Holliday has taken this to a new level with a crime novel based around something a lot of homes will have on display at this time of year the traditional advent calendar. When I read the blurb for the storyline my thought was ‘why has no-one come up with this before’ and The Deaths of December really is the perfect Christmas crime read.
There has been a serial killer on the loose for twenty years and this killer has fallen under the radar. His methods do not follow a pattern which makes it difficult for this killer to be caught and at the same time this killer is clever with it. It is fast approaching Christmas and at the local police station a mysterious gift has arrived. At first no-one suspects and think it is a harmless gift. It is an advent calendar. But closer inspection suddenly gets everyone's attention. Behind every window lies a shocking discovery. No festive cheer here these are photos of murder scenes and they are real taken at the time of the murder. So who is behind sending the advent calendar and what is their motive. More urgently is who are the victims. Some of the windows on the calendar have been left blank. This is now a real concern as this could mean the killer is not finished and wants to fully complete his own macabre advent calendar of murders.
We are now introduced to an exciting new detective partnership in DS Eddie Carmine and DC Becky Green to race against the clock before another window is filled with another murder. These two detectives clearly have a real chemistry and really do appeal to the reader. There are a number of intriguing characters that you are introduced to 'The Photographer' and 'Carly' so the story is more or less told by the leading characters. There is something about Carly that when you read this book you will find out for yourselves. Well done to Susi Holliday for creating such great characters and how she teases us with information through the book.
The is a totally compelling and gripping read. There are times when the action becomes rather tense and you just know the clock is ticking down and just when you think they are getting close the killer is getting closer. This is the perfect Christmas fireside read. Switch on the tree lights turn the phone off and get yourself a drink and settle down and enjoy this festive crime thriller. But lock the door!
The basic premise of the book? Well, the police receive a mysterious gift addressed to no-one and everyone, a home made advent calendar where behind each window lies a festive scene with a difference. Each scene depicts a murder, but as to who the victims are and why the police have been sent the calendar, this falls to Detective Sergeant Eddie Carmine and DC Becky Greene to find out. With several windows left blank, they have a race against the clock to stop the killer before they can finish their game. How far the killer will go Carmine and Green have no idea, but the killer could be a lot closer to home than either of them can possibly realize. Tense and chilling this is a perfect antidote to those dreading the happy festive period.
I was intrigued from the very start by this book. Not just because the central characters, Carmine and Greene exchange pleasantries in McDonalds and I was, at the time, fairly hungry and could have happily hoofed down a McMuffin. There was just something about the characters which captured my attention, and as Greene returned to the station and discovered the calendar, from there on in I was hooked. Told from several points of view, namely those of the Detectives, a woman called Carly and ‘The Photographer’, readers are taken on one heck of a journey, not always pleasant, often tense but undoubtedly entertaining. Each character brought about different emotions or feelings in me as a reader. Take Carly for example, frustrated by her life and the lack of love from her husband, a woman who I could feel great sympathy for. The overbearing mother who never listened, the children who have all but outgrown her, the husband who is never there … There is more to Carly and her story than meets the eye, and the author does a brilliant job of drip feeding this information into the narrative.
Then you have the Detectives, Carmine and Greene. Both are facing an element of uncertainty in their personal lives, not enough to impact their investigation, but enough to keep them interesting. Greene is young and astute and I instantly liked her. Carmine is older and perhaps more cynical, but he has a surprising connection to the killer. There is a reason that they chose that particular police station to send their calendar to, all they need to work out is why. They make a really good team, feeding off each other, and it’s a partnership I was more than happy to follow.
And there there is ‘The Photographer’. They have their reasons for killing people, at least in their own mind. The justification is weak at best, deranged at worst, but I can understand the devolution of their mind and I think this was portrayed quite sympathetically in the story. It comes to a point though, where even they don’t fully understand their actions, where they realize that a hypothetical line has been crossed, one from which there really is no return. I can almost feel sympathy for their situation but not empathy or forgiveness for their actions.
I loved the story which developed, the plotting tight enough to keep me completely focused on the action. There are moments where I could feel my nerves jangling as the level of peril for certain characters increased. The whole feeling of danger surrounding the two Detectives was off the scale towards the end of the book. And I particularly loved the nod to one of my favourite TV shows of the late nineties. I instantly recognised the names and it was with a slight smile on my face that I listened on (or technically turned the page as I read that actual chapter) and found myself faced with what I already expected.
All in all I found this was a really great book and a fabulous way to avoid celebrating Christmas cheer. Works for me. It wasn’t entirely without a hint of a happy ending, but that was just a side order to an industrial sized feast of a serial killer story. Loved it.
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Until DC Becky Greene starts opening doors...and discovers a crime scene behind almost every one.Read more
This was a cracking read kept on the edge of your seat to see how it ended .
Roll on the next book