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Book Review: Where She Lies By Michael Scanlon

I feel privileged to have received an ARC copy of a new debut author, Michael Scanlon.

It’s available for preorder NOW on Amazon – with a release date of 8th February 2019. (Not long to wait!)

Where she lies by Michael Scanlon (previously known as The Quiet Hours)

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

BUG Rating: 4/5

Overall: I must start by saying, I have never, ever read a whole book in one day… until now. For Scanlon’s debut novel, he really hasn’t disappointed. The story follows detective Finnegan Beck from his life in Dublin as Detective Inspector to a demotion in isolated, rural Cross Beg where he is assigned to the murder of a young local school girl. It’s an exciting case to follow with many thrilling, unexpected twists (and more murders along the way!). Throughout the book, we of course get to learn more about Beck, who is a very interesting and complex character. I really enjoyed it. Alongside the main case, there was also the case into Beck’s demotion. We also got to meet a great set of other main characters, who each had their unique charms. I look forward to understanding them more – I do hope there will be a next instalment! 

He felt a power. An exhilarating power. He could determine life and death. Within the furnace, down deep, where the embers glowed fiercest, his hatred burned.

Plot:

In a town full of liars, who can you trust?

When Detective Finnegan Beck is demoted from his high-powered job in Dublin and relocated in disgrace to the small Irish town of Cross Beg, he predicts boredom will be his biggest threat.

But then a beautiful, local teenage girl is found strangled in the cold, dark woods a mile from town. The prime suspect is the seemingly-gentle drifter who found Tanya’s body.

Beck seems to be the only person who can’t escape the feeling that Tanya wasn’t killed at random. As he digs deeper into the shadows of Cross Beg, he begins to realise it isn’t the sleepy backwater he’d first believed. Everyone here has something to hide. Tanya had a boyfriend, whose name no one knew. A best friend with a loose relationship with the truth. And a habit she thought she’d kept hidden from everyone.

But, just as Beck believes he is making progress, the body of one of the suspects is found drowned in the river. Is the killer just getting started?

Everyone in the town seems to have something they would die to protect. But who has a secret they’d kill for?


The plot on this book really gripped me – new author Michael Scanlon has really managed to wow with his first, impressive, debut novel.

The storyline is set in Ireland and centres around character Finnegan Beck, known as Beck. Beck has been recently demoted in the Police (a whole story in itself, which is also explored in parallel throughout the book) and is forced from Dublin to the very quiet, and isolated town Cross Beg to assist on a case. He is purely there to ride out the storm in the investigation into ‘What happened in Dublin’. 

He’s assigned to the murder of local school girl, who’s body was found, strangled, in the woods. 

The suspicion then turns to an unemployed, local oddball, who was identified after he made the call to report the finding of the young girl’s body. Many of the local officers find him good for the crime, but Beck’s instincts tell him he’s not their killer.

More deaths rapidly follow, and before they know it, the team are on the hunt for a sadistic serial killer, with too many suspects in sight.

The book is well paced, although I did feel like it started off a bit slow, but Scanlon then more than made up for it, giving a really thrilling read, keeping me guessing at every twist and turn, then everything comes together perfectly at the end in one massive jaw gripping, surprise!

I loved how we get glimpses into the killer’s mind when some of the chapters are told from his perspective, and these are by far the most gruesome, vivid, deranged, and creepiest passages of the book – and to be honest, I wanted more of them!

Onto the characters: Beck, Beck, Beck … He’s definitely an interesting character. He’s flawed, struggling with his relationship with alcohol, he’s erratic, he has huge commitment issues, he’s somewhat lost – all of which is totally ok, it makes him more human, more real, and his struggles are what make him so unique, and he truly is a brilliant detective, despite some unorthodox ways. We only scratch the surface of who Beck is in this book, but I’ve learnt enough to really like and appreciate him. 

Some of the other main characters, Claire Somers – I can see her becoming a bigger part of Beck’s personal and professional life (I hope!), and Gumbell, what can we say about Gumbell – he’s a real bad influence on Beck, but also a good friend, a few of their encounters are highly amusing. O’Reilly also needs a mention – he is the leading officer on the case and has little to no time for Beck and sets out to make his life a misery. I think he sees Beck as a rival, who is actually much more superior than he is in detective work – which is definitely the case! I’m curious and excited to see the next layer of these characters and where Scanlon takes them next.

A huge congratulations for your first book Michael – and I hope there will be another instalment in the near future!

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. 

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