I was so excited to receive a copy of Caroline Mitchell’s new book. By far one of my favorite authors, this is a five star read that leaves you chilled to the bone. Gripping and deliciously creepy, Left For Dead is the third installment in the DI Amy Winter Thriller book series.
A victim on display. A detective on the rails.
Shopping with her sister, DI Amy Winter is admiring a Valentine’s Day window display of a perfect bride encrusted in diamonds and resplendent in lace—until she notices blood oozing from the mannequin’s mouth.
This is no stunt. A post-mortem reveals the victim was left to die on her macabre throne for all to see. When a second victim is found, it emerges that both women were ‘Sugar Babes’ arranging dates with older men online—and Amy finds herself hunting an accomplished psychopath.
As she tracks down the killer, Amy’s instincts go into overdrive when the charismatic head of the agency behind the display makes no attempt to hide his fascination with her serial-killer parents. What exactly does he want from Amy? With her own world in freefall as her biological mother, Lillian Grimes, appeals her conviction, Amy pushes the boundaries of police procedure when a third ‘Sugar Babe’ disappears…Is she as much at risk as the killer’s victims?
- Print Length: 332 pages
- Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (July 8, 2020)
- Publication Date: July 8, 2020
- ASIN: B082HT291W
The book opens on a chilly February day in the office of Samuel Black who, after having scratched his way to the top, now lives in a large home in Notting Hill. Itching to release his hidden desires, he unlocks the second draw of his desk, and with the help of a little black notebook, he is thrust from his mundane life into the bowels of a secret society.
DCI Hazel Pike is retiring and Donovan, toned and muscular and without a tie, has been transferred from Essex Police to take over her role. Dubbed as the psychopath-whisperer and with fan-mail to boot, it’s a bitter pill for DI Amy Winter to swallow. But I love Donovan, in fact, I quite fancy him myself.
A shopping trip with her sister down London’s Oxford Street on a Saturday morning, starts the ball rolling on the most bizarre case yet. A widow display with the distinctive scent of death and a dummy, left on a throne, ice cold with blood dripping from her mouth. A small heart-shaped wound had been cut in her chest, reminiscent of Claire Lacey’s murder twenty years ago— nicknamed The Love Heart Killer.
With all the ingredients of a fabulous plot, this book definitely delivers on many counts. The antagonist is deliciously creepy (which I love) and the protagonist is a pitbull of a crime fighter, whose punchbag sessions in her basement gym make up a small part of her amazing strength. The word ‘no’ doesn’t exist in her vocabulary and wedging a boot in a closing a door demonstrates her prickly dedication. Reluctant to discuss the Beasts of Brentwood with the likes of Samuel Black, she will have to atone for Lillian’s crimes, the true reason why Amy does what she does. But with tainted blood running through her veins—or you could say a foot in both camps—I wonder if this makes her twice as intuitive. Her nemesis in this case may refer to her as ‘same dog, different fleas,’ but he doesn’t know what he’s dealing with.
On the final stretch of the crime, the twist in the tale had me reeling. I thought I might have it all worked out by about the three quarter mark, but I hadn’t. A twenty-year-old murder told from two perspectives, with a cruel and perverted outcome. What’s that Harper Lee saying? “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
I always have my go-to crime writers and I’m happy to say, Caroline Mitchell is one who never disappoints. Edgy, dark and showcasing one of the finest detective characters in modern fiction, it’s exciting to note that the series has been optioned and will soon be on our screens to watch.
Huge thanks to author Caroline Mitchell, publisher Thomas & Mercer (APub) and Sarah Hardy at Books on the Bright Side Publicity and Netgalley for an advance reader copy of this book.
About the author:
A former police detective, Caroline Mitchell now writes full-time.
She has worked in CID and specialised in roles dealing with vulnerable victims—high-risk victims of domestic abuse and serious sexual offences. The mental strength shown by the victims of these crimes is a constant source of inspiration to her, and Mitchell combines their tenacity with her knowledge of police procedure to create tense psychological thrillers.
Originally from Ireland, she now lives in a pretty village on the coast of Essex with her husband and three children.
You can find out more about her at http://www.caroline-writes.com, or follow her on Twitter (@caroline_writes) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/CMitchellAuthor).
Other books by Caroline Mitchell: