BOOK REVIEW: The Killer In Me by Olivia Kiernan

You only need to look at the cover of this book to know it’s going to be a dark, gritty thriller.  Set in Ireland, it has two stories running simultaneously.
We start with a 17 year old crime.  Sean Hennessey has just been released from prison after serving time for murdering his parents and attempting to murder his younger sister.
Is it coincidence then that, shortly after his release, two bodies are discovered in the local church?  A husband and wife who have been labelled “victim” and “weapon”
This is the conundrum that Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan has to solve.
Meanwhile her sister in law, Tanya, is a lawyer who is equally determined to prove Sean’s innocence.  She has asked Frankie to review this old case.  Sean has always maintained that he was not involved in the slaughter of his family and he has an alibi for the recent murders.
What follows is a trawl around some of Clontarf’s less savoury characters (and, be warned, if you don’t like swearing in books you may need to skip a few pages here and there!).  There’s a general lack of respect for the Police but, as a copper with a profiling background, Frankie knows that the killer is intelligent and methodical.  He’s also sending them a message – they just haven’t worked out what it is yet.
When another body is found on the beach with the label “killer” it’s clear that the  murderer has struck again but what is the connection between the victims?
With leads and ideas in short supply it’s some clever procedural work which finally provides the missing piece of the jigsaw.  The enhancement of a car’s reflection in a window leads them to a familiar face and suddenly, like a domino rally, all the separate components come toppling down.
Whilst I had a thought of who the killer could be I certainly didn’t anticipate the complex web of lies and the sheer scale of characters that would be involved in facilitating the murderer’s crimes.
This is a compelling thriller which really scratches the underbelly of people’s lives and exposes the secrets behind closed doors.  What’s certain is that there’s no such thing as the perfect family or perfect marriage in Clontarf!  Even the vicar has something to hide!
I devoured this within a couple of days – and that says it all really.
The Killer In Me is published by Riverrun and is available here.

Olivia Kiernan

Olivia Kiernan is an Irish writer living in the UK. She was born and raised in County Meath, near the famed heritage town of Kells and holds an MA in Creative Writing awarded by the University of Sussex. Too Close to Breathe is her first novel.

Reviewed by Angela Paull

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