This was another of the books that I spotted on the swaps- shelf at our hotel in Lanzarote and excitedly grabbed as soon as I laid eyes on it !
Christmas is on the way but people's dreams of a white Christmas are about to turn into nightmares of a fright Christmas with a terrifying serial killer, the Advent Killer, as the newspapers soon dub him, on the loose.
Three weeks before Christmas: Sunday, one a.m. A woman is drowned in her bathtub. One week later: Sunday, one a.m. A woman is beaten savagely to death, every bone in her body broken. Another week brings another victim.
As panic spreads across London, DCI Antonia Hawkins, leading her first murder investigation, must stop a cold, careful killer whose twisted motives can only be guessed at, before the next body is found. On Sunday. When the clock strikes one . . .
I really liked the character of DCI Hawkins. She has been thrown in at the deep end, trying to beat the odds and outmanoeuver a cunning, sadistic psychopath on her first ever lead investigation, with very little support from her chauvinistic superiors. She is believably imperfect, with a few skeletons in her closet (one, in particular, who throws her emotions into turmoil by reappearing in her life) and a touching vulnerability beneath her tough exterior.
I found the plot to be tense and gripping, but I did manage to work out who the killer was quite early on. I find that this happens a lot these days - maybe it's inevitable if you read a lot of crime fiction, like I do. I did also find that the final showdown was quite unrealistic because there were barely any security measures put in place to keep key targets safe. Overall it was an enjoyable and exciting read though.
This was the first DCI Hawkins book, released back in 2013. A second book, My Bloody Valentine, was released in the series last year and I'll definitely be looking out for that one too, as I'd love to see more of such an interesting, complex and strong female lead character.
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : £6.99