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Book Review: Heartlands by Kerry Watts

I received an advance reviewers copy of Kerry Watts’ upcoming Novel – Heartlands.
It’s available for preorder NOW on Amazon – with a release date of 21st March 2019.

Heartlands by Kerry Watts

Genre: Fiction/Crime Fiction/Crime, Thriller & Mystery

BUG Rating: 4.5/5

Overall: Totally captivating and addictive read. I loved this book! There are two storylines. One routed in the past about a brutally raped and murdered school girl and her young killers as they face trial and juvenile detention. One in the present, a missing school girl, Shannon, baring all the similarities of the case from the past – or so it seems. Di Jessie Blake leads the investigation, along with DC Dylan Logan. What a great team they make! Jessie is clever and driven (newly promoted, and young!), Dylan is the sweetest, he’s family orientated, and a dedicated cop. Together they piece together the puzzle to Shannon’s disappearance and uncover the many lies that inhabit this small, seemingly quiet town in Scotland. Kerry has created a well paced, riveting story that had me totally mesmerised from the first page. This has to be on your 2019 TBR list!

Daniel’s heart raced, and he struggled for breath. He screwed his eyes tight shut and concentrated on his breathing; in and out, in and out, until he regained control. He craved control. Without control, he couldn’t cope.


Call it mother’s intuition, but I knew she was dead the moment she was late home. As I listened to her phone ring and ring, that’s when I knew for sure. My little girl was gone. 
Twenty years ago, Sophie Nicoll never came home from school. Days later her body was found in a shallow grave on a remote farm a few miles from her hometown. Two boys from her school were found guilty. The press called the boys evil. Sophie’s family wanted them dead. The judge promised they’d never walk free.
Two decades later and schoolgirl Shannon Ross has vanished from a small town in the Scottish Highlands.
It’s Detective Jessie Blake’s first big case since she joined Perthshire Police. Having recently arrived from London, Jessie lives in fear of people finding out about her past and her reasons for moving north.
When Shannon’s body is found in the river on the outskirts of Inverlochty, Jessie discovers she’s not the only one with something to hide. As the small community begins to crack under pressure, people begin to point fingers. And soon, the big secrets hidden within the small town are revealed – with devastating consequences.

It’s every mother’s worst nightmare … Losing a child.This book completely pulled on my heartstrings, it made me tuck my kids in bed a little tighter, and give them an extra kiss goodnight!
Kerry Watts has really created a masterpiece. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and finished it in a couple of sittings. 
The story starts, horrifically, with a dive into the past, 1996, when Jack MacKay and his friend Daniel Simpson rape and murder a girl from their class at school, burying her body in a shallow grave on a farm site near by. This book is definitely not for the faint hearted, but I lapped it up enjoying every minute of it. It was interesting to first understand the dynamic between these two young boys. Jack was clearly the one fantasising and had already acted out his plan in his head, Daniel, obviously not innocent, but I couldn’t help feel something for him. He was the son of a drug addict/drunk and didn’t know his father. He didn’t have much in life and some could say his dysfunctional home life contributed towards his actions. Jack, the total opposite, he had a picture perfect family and never wanted for anything, was he just born evil?
Kerry’s writing was amazing, I found myself totally immersed in every word and sentence. This book was a real page turner! This first chapter literally had me gripped.
After diving into details from the past, we are then back in the present, wondering how everything links; the storyline then follows DI Jessie Blake, and colleague DC Dylan Logan as they are assigned to a missing school girl case in a quiet town in Scotland. 
Jessie is a young newly promoted DI, she is smart and beautiful. She lives alone, with her cat Smokey, she has haunting nightmares and she hates motorbikes. She definitely has a past, and one that she seems, very afraid of. 
Her side kick, DC Dylan Logan, created a wonderful balance. He’s a good copper, a family man, a real sweetheart. Dylan is extremely caring and a genuinely ‘nice guy’.
I loved the pair of them. Their characters totally human, layered with flaws and relatable feelings.
There were plenty of other characters to sink our teeth into too; the family and close friends of the missing school girl, Shannon. Focusing mainly around her parents Louis and Jason, their relationship might not be as it seems. Her parent’s best friends Cassie and Rob, also her teenage Uncle, Ben, and best friend Eric. There’s plenty of backstories and hints and clues to gain insights into their lives and draw some conclusions –and red herrings – but with all the twists and turns, hold on to your seats and buckle up .. it’s going to be a thrilling ride! 
The story was brilliantly told, I loved the flicking back to the past and back to the present, as we try to make sense of the two seemingly unrelated cases and individuals.
I knew there was something fishy going on, and I thought I had an idea about a few of the characters and things that had happened, despite having thought it was possible, the wrap up and ending was still a MASSIVE shock.
The main thing I struggled with in this book was I found in the first 10 chapters there were a lot of introductions of new characters, which honestly, I struggled with, and got a bit confused. I am sure some of them didn’t make a reappearance later on. 
However, I still thought this book was brilliant, I will be singing it’s praises to whoever will listen and I really hope Kerry will be back with another instalment of DI Jessie Blake!

I received a free advanced copy of this book from NetGalley / Bookouture in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. All opinions are my own. 


  • T.J. Dominguez
    February 16, 2019 at 9:57 pm

    I love this review! It sounds like an interesting read! Thank you for the honest take on this ARC!

  • em@afternoonbookery
    February 17, 2019 at 2:31 pm

    This sounds like something right up my street. I need to check this out xx

  • Jo Linsdell
    February 19, 2019 at 6:18 pm

    Great review. This sounds like one I might enjoy.

  • Lindsey Russell
    February 25, 2019 at 10:42 pm

    It sounds like a book I’ve love! Thank you for sharing an honest review!

    • bookedupgirl
      February 28, 2019 at 9:16 pm

      Thank you Lindsey 🙂

  • Becki Svare
    February 27, 2019 at 11:19 am

    Great review!! My heart is beating too hard already and I haven’t even gotten the book!!

    • bookedupgirl
      February 28, 2019 at 9:16 pm

      Thank you Becki!!

  • Lixa
    March 20, 2019 at 12:45 pm

    Great review. I added this book to my crazy longn tbr list. Lol

    • bookedupgirl
      March 20, 2019 at 6:19 pm

      I just can’t keep up with mine!!


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