I am FINALLY able to share my thoughts on Lara Dearman’s debut novel, The Devil’s Claw, since I read it months ago! It is a stunning debut and one that every crime thriller fan will love!
I was lucky enough to get my hands on a very advanced proof copy at the Theakston Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival this year and I devoured it within days of getting it home.
Before I start harping on, here’s the details …
Trapeze; 01 edition (7 Sept. 2017)
AN ATMOSPHERIC NEW CRIME SERIES SET IN THE CHANNEL ISLANDS
Following a traumatic incident in London, Jennifer Dorey has returned to her childhood home in Guernsey, taking a job as a reporter at the local newspaper.
After the discovery of a drowned woman on a beach, she uncovers a pattern of similar deaths that have taken place over the past fifty years.
Together with DCI Michael Gilbert, an officer on the verge of retirement, they follow a dark trail of island myths and folklore to ‘Fritz’, the illegitimate son of a Nazi soldier. His work, painstakingly executed, has so far gone undetected.
But with his identity about to be uncovered, the killer now has Jennifer in his sights.
My thoughts …
When Jennifer Dorey returns to her home town on Guernsey, she is running from a secret that will not let her rest easy.
Taking a job at the local newspaper, she is feeling less than appreciated and is totally out of sorts. When the body of a young woman is found washed up on the beach, there is an immediate reaction that she drowned either by accident or by suicide, but Jennifer isn’t so sure.
With no one taking much notice of her, Jennifer decides to look in to the case on her own and what she discovers will bring this quiet town to its knees in shock.
Jennifer is a wonderful character. I loved getting to know her and to understand her need for finding the truth. She is brilliantly written and so easy to relate to. She hasn’t had it easy, getting in over head with her work, se throws her all in to everything she does, and not always with the outcome she would want. She has a deep sadness about her and the emotions she feels jump off the pages and make the reader feel them with her, testament to a very skilled author.
Dearman tells us her story in chapters that jump from the past to the present for several of the characters, which I loved. Perfectly balanced, these now and then chapters don’t get the reader confused, you know exactly what is going on and with how, at all times, well, apart from the identity of the killer that is!
As Jennifer starts to put together the pieces of the jigsaw she has uncovered, she is taken a journey around Guernsey which follows myths and folklore tales, and which Dearman brings to life wonderfully.
The Devil’s Claw is a wonderfully written debut, in fact, if I didn’t know it was Dearman’s debut, I’d be hard-pressed to identify it as one. Building the tension, Dearman lures the reader in to the world she has created and makes everything around you fade into the background as you find yourself completely immersed in her story. An intelligent plot line that is executed with the finesse required to make a psychological thriller, thrill. A real page-turner, The Devil’s Claw will have you on the edge of your seat and is one that I highly recommend.
My hugest of thanks to the author and the team at Trapeze and Orion for my review copy. You can get yours over at:
About the author …
Lara was born and raised on the beautiful Channel Island of Guernsey. She moved to the UK to study International Relations and French at the University of Sussex, after which she endured a brief career in finance before giving it up to be a stay at home mum to her three children. A short course in Creative Writing at Richmond Adult Community College led to Lara studying for a Masters in Creative Writing at St Mary’s University, London. She graduated in 2016 with a distinction. Having moved from Guernsey to Brighton to London to Paris to Singapore and back to London over the last fifteen years, she has now settled in Westchester, New York, with her family. The Devil’s Claw is her first novel and combines her love of Guernsey, myths and folklore with her obsession with crime fiction and serial killers…