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Book Review: The Killer In Me by Olivia Kiernan

I actually read this back in January, as an advanced reviewer copy, courtesy of publisher Quercus and NetGalley, but had to patiently (yeah right!) wait until now to post as I am taking part in the Blog Book Tour!

It’s available for preorder NOW on Amazon – with a release date of 4th April 2019 (Go order yours now).

The Killer in Me by Olivia Kiernan

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

BUG Rating: 4.5/5

Overall: Chilling, twisted (sometimes, really dark) storyline follows Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan as she dives between past and present, two cases, that could be linked, trying to solve gruesome murders. I loved this book, it really kept me engaged, and excited. I am not overly keen on long chapters, I like to have an easy point to put books down, so it made it really, really hard to put this book down – Olivia clearly knows what she’s doing! An excellent read, with all the things you expect from this kind of police procedural genre. In one word – THRILLING.

Thing is, no one really knows what a person is capable of, despite the smile on their face, the firmness of their handshake or whether they look you in the eye as they lie to you […] We are none of us far from the killer inside us.


Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan does not wish to linger on the grisly scene before her eyes. Two mutilated corpses. In a church. In Clontarf. Her profiling background screams one fact: this is just the beginning of a sickening message.

Meanwhile, a 17-year-old case is playing out on a TV documentary, the convicted professing his innocence and historical police errors being exposed daily in the media. Frankie’s superior, commissioner Donna Hegarty, makes no bones about who she expects to clean things up – both in terms of past mishandlings and the present murders.

But not everyone working the cases wants the truth to come out, and the corridors of power have their own vested interest. Soon Frankie pinpoints just what is making her so nervous: the fact that anyone could be the next victim when justice is the killer.

The Killer In Me is a fast-paced thriller in which lies are safer that the truth, the past is never far from the present, and the ability to kill could well, it seems, live in everyone.

Wow, wow, WOW! I really loved this book! This is actually book 2 in the Frankie Sheehan series … Which I found out 4 chapters in – I was utterly devastated, but after a quick tweet from Olivia Kiernan, she reassured me, I could read it as a stand alone just fine – disaster averted!!

Onto the storyline … The plot follows Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan in Dublin, Ireland. I am really loving the Irish settings at the moment, having just finished Michael Scanlon’s Where She Lies, set in rural/remote Ireland.

I was literally on the first page, and was already getting chills down my spine; Frankie having been called by her sister in law, Tanya, a defence lawyer, to a meeting at a bar to meet recently released murderer Sean Hennessy, who has just spent 17 years inside for the brutal murder of his parents, and attempted murder of his sister – all at the young age of 15. The now young man is claiming his innocence and wants to be exonerated for his past crimes. Tanya wants Frankie’s help reviewing the case files to determine if the investigation was handled correctly/anything missed. Frankie is obviously skeptical, but given her relationship with Tanya, and her own doubts looking at the young, lost man before her, she accepts to take a look. Whilst still with Tanya and Sean, Frankie receives a call – a horrifying, staged/elaborated crime scene near by in Clontarf at the village church. It was spine tingling – a couple (the Shine’s)- the man dressed in a priest’s vestment, freezer burns on his corpse, clearly dead a lot longer than his wife, who lay there with multiple stab wounds with a cryptic clue left behind. 

From there, the book follows Frankie and her team as they try to solve the Shine murders and identify the killer – all whilst the body count rises some more.

Whilst Frankie is trying to keep the focus on her current case, the historical case that haunted her home town 17 years prior is hot on her mind as she reviews the evidence, and recent videos filmed of Sean Hennessey as part of his upcoming documentary on his wrongful incarceration and miscarriage of justice. Frankie revisits Sean’s troubled childhood, the crime scene photos, reports, alibis, and also tries to identify the only survivor, Sean’s sister, Cara, who was given a new identity after her horrific ordeal. This part was twisted and haunting, which is probably what I like most. It leaves you one minute saying ‘so he did it’ to the next .. ‘how could he have’? All whilst checking your doors are locked!

I really appreciated these two, intertwined, captivating story lines, they were really fantastic. Past to Present, they constantly left you wondering – are these cases linked? (no spoilers!)

Several times, I thought I had identified the killer, as did Frankie, then everything changes and you are again questioning everything – I found myself flicking back a few times to see if I missed any clues! 

Saying that, I did feel I knew who the killer was, deep down in my gut, but couldn’t ‘prove it’. It was a really thrilling read with plenty of twists and turns and nail biting moments.

Frankie’s character was interesting – she’s smart and determined but there’s something about her that I am really intrigued by, I can’t quite put my finger on it – a troubled past maybe haunting her? She touches on her father’s depression and the aftermath of finding him after a suicide attempt, but I think there is even more than that to uncover from this complex character.

There’s Baz, Frankie’s funny, protective, slightly lazy?!, side kick detective, and I adore him!! I love when there’s a good duo, the energy they bounce off each other, and the small personal digs. Baz is probably the closest thing Frankie has to a real friend. They complement each other so well, I look forward to seeing this relationship develop further.

There’s also a few other key characters in the book, trusted Helen – a dedicated, reliable, ‘yes mam’ officer, who really has Frankie’s back and will do anything for her/to please her.

Frankie’s boss, Donna Hegarty who is really all about the politics and public perception, which just becomes more and more apparent throughout the review of the Hennessy case. She is definitely looking out for number one – despite loathing her, she gives the story a good balance, and definitely keeps Frankie on her toes. We need characters that are going to provide some conflict.

Finally, Jack Clancy, who is a bit of a mystery. So far I have gathered he really loves his daughter and wants to protect her – I didn’t realise this was actually book 2 in the series, so I do wonder what I have missed in terms of character evolution. I will be going back to check.

The Killer In Me, which had me gripped at the title alone, really did have it all; from amazing, strong characters, each with their own strengths and unique personalities. They  worked so well as a team, to the utterly captivating storyline, which will haunt me for some time!

I can’t wait for the next instalment – and to catch up on the previous one.

I received a free advanced copy of this book from NetGalley / Quercus 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. 

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