Hall of Fame Review: Dead Wrong by Noelle Holten

Friday, 13 March 2020
Title: Dead Wrong
Author: Noelle Holten
Publisher: One More Chapter
Publication Date: 14th March 2020
Pages: 432
Source: NetGalley
Rating: 5/5
Purchase: Amazon
The serial killer is behind bars. But the murders are just beginning…

DC Maggie Jamieson's past comes back to haunt her in this dark and gripping serial killer thriller.

Three missing women running out of time…

They were abducted years ago. Notorious serial killer Bill Raven admitted to killing them and was sentenced to life.

The case was closed – at least DC Maggie Jamieson thought it was…

But now one of them has been found, dismembered and dumped in a bin bag in town.

Forensics reveal that she died just two days ago, when Raven was behind bars, so Maggie has a second killer to find.

Because even if the other missing women are still alive, one thing’s for certain: they don’t have long left to live…

One of the things I love most about reading is finding one of those books that immediately hooks me in. That consumes me as I read. One of those books that when I’m not reading it, I can’t stop thinking about the story, and I have so many scenarios running around in my mind when I have reluctantly had to put my Kindle down and resume everyday life. Dead Wrong is that book. In terms of pure addictiveness and brilliantly twisty storytelling, this is one of the best crime novels I have read in the past six months.

Noelle Holten has always been one of my favourite people when she has her blogging hat on over at Crime Book Junkie, not only as I used her website as a go-to source for must-read crime, but because she’s one of the biggest supporters of other bloggers out there. When I found out she was releasing a crime novel I couldn’t have been more excited. Dead Inside was that book and, the 3 star rating aside, I actually really enjoyed it. That’s the problem when you don’t review every book you read, a 3 star rating can mean different things to different people. Dead Inside was a solid start to what I knew would become a favourite series of mine and has a main character in Maggie Jamieson that I was immediately endeared to. Noelle also has a fantastic writing style and the short chapters I always love in crime fiction that always mean I just can’t stop reading after one more chapter. And so Dead Wrong confirms everything I knew when I finished Dead Inside, that this was going to become a must-read series for me.

Dead Wrong is a truly first class crime novel with one of my favourite antagonists I have read about for such a long time. Noelle has created a truly memorable character with Bill Raven, a man behind bars for murders that he confessed to committing. The only problem being, the women he is supposed to have killed have been showing up mutilated, forensic evidence showing they were killed while Bill was incarcerated. Maggie knows there’s more to the story, and is adamant that Bill Raven is still responsible despite being in prison. I often find it lazy and maybe a little insulting to compare authors but here the biggest compliment I can give Noelle is to say that Bill Raven is a character that could have came from the mind of Chris Carter, and anyone who has read one of his crime novels will know the sort of evil he writes about in his stories. Not only does Bill manage to get under Maggie’s skin, so too did he get under mine. The scenes where he is interviewed in prison had my blood boiling. How Maggie (mostly) kept her cool was beyond me. I don’t want to say too much about this character except he really is a fantastic creation and where Noelle took his story, and his backstory too made for an engrossing and perfect storyline for a crime novel.

Maggie is a wonderful creation, a brilliant character who I can’t wait to read about again. It’s hard to fully enjoy a book if you can’t love the main character and Maggie is a character I like a lot. I particularly like how she isn’t like any other fictional detective I have read about before which is so refreshing in this genre. I enjoyed reading about her personal life as much as I did her work life and I especially enjoyed the friendship between her and psychologist Kate Maloney. Theirs was an intriguing relationship not just personally but also professionally as they both work together to solve this case. It’s a good yin and yang to have Maggie looking at this procedurally and evidentially, whereas Kate looks at the psychological elements. This helps the reader to look at the case, and Bill Raven’s character, from many different angles. The psychological element I felt was really well done and was one of the standout parts of this entire book.

There’s a real mix of characters in the story and I enjoyed reading about each and every one of them. I especially liked Nathan and would love to see him have a larger role next time and to perhaps learn more about him. Kate Maloney was also an intriguing character to read about, and what stood out to me was her excellent ability to profile people for her job, but her struggle to work out her own personal life when some strange happenings begin occurring to her. The characters are not just what made me enjoy this story so much but the procedural element was also brilliantly done as well. Not bogged down too much with the boring stuff we know crime writers have to gloss over but actually what felt to me like a believable investigation; Maggie wanting to push ahead and get answers at any cost, and her superiors having to reel her in and make sure she doesn’t jeopardise the case. One other thing I liked as well was seeing some of the characters from previous stories, I hope that continues with the next one. In terms of the last third of the story and the ending itself, all I can say is bravo. An absolutely astonishing denouement to an excellently plotted story. I couldn’t take my eyes off my Kindle from around the 70% mark as I just had to finish the story. I didn’t quite finish it open-mouthed but I have to say I wasn’t far off. What an ending.

To summarise this essay dedicated to my love for Dead Wrong, I will say again that it is one of the best crime novels I have read in the past six months. Noelle Holten was a born crime writer and this book really is testament to that statement. I believe she is a name us crime fans will be seeing on the front cover of many more books and I for one cannot wait. One of my favourite things about being a blogger is seeing people that I ‘know’ do well. I quote know because while I don’t know Noelle personally she has been a huge supporter of my blog over the years and just generally been an all-round amazing person. When my mental health makes me retreat into my cocoon, it is the likes of Noelle and all of the other wonderful people in the blogging world that I miss. So it’s fantastic to see her having this success and I believe Dead Wrong will be well-received by all who read it. It truly is a first-rate crime novel and if I was to say it will be in my Top 5 Books of the Year, I think come December I’ll be able to prove myself dead right.

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