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A Killer in the Family: The gripping new thriller that will have you hooked from the first page

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Even better, just when I thought it had all come to a head there were more revelations yet to be had.

But single mom Aisling Cooley has a lot to distract her: two beloved teenage sons and a quest to find her long-lost father, whom she hasn’t seen since she was a teenager growing up in Ireland. Even with its slow burn, extra detailed descriptions portraying characters’ swinging moods, fears, flaws, hesitancy, the short chapters, and the twists leading you down different roads that take you on another journey, push you to make guesses about how things will wrap up.

That was, of course, even before I got to the conclusion, which had me shouting in horror and shock. I recommend to anyone who likes a good detective/police procedural with lots of twists and surprises. The beginning is very repetitive on all sides; from Ainsley wondering if she should or shouldn't spill the beans to her son about her past and from the stalled-out police investigation into the Bonfire Killer. Aisling reconnects with an old friend from Ireland, a former MET police officer who now works as a private investigator, and they find a shared motivation to identify the criminal before the police do. Ever since becoming estranged from her own parents, though, she's always felt like a piece of her is missing.

Lodge masterfully weaves together the perspectives of Aisling, her sons, and Detective Sheens, creating a suspenseful and multilayered narrative. Dubbed the ‘bonfire killer’ because of the circumstances in which the victims are found, the killer shows no signs of slowing down. Although this plot was far more detailed and intricate than the other Sheens books I’ve read, I was just as entranced by Lodge’s writing prowess and character development in this novel as in her other works.The investigations take her back to her home turf, as well as making it clear that someone has her in their sights. That said, once I got the lay of the land, so to speak - with burning pyres topped by women murdered by what appears to be a serial killer - the story itself kept me turning the pages (well, okay, thumbing the edge of my e-book reader). There is a growing tension that underpins the case, as well as some tender moments as the friendship between her and her colleague Ben grows stronger.

Terrifyingly, it is quite clear that what they have on their hands is a serial killer, which is a fact that stops every woman in her tracks.

A Killer in the Family was so good, so unbelievably mind-blowing, that I honestly don’t know if this review will be able to adequately describe its perfection. How dark they might be don't learn straight away, but it does leave big question marks dangling over the pair of them when it becomes clear that it is a make relative of Aisling who has been committing the murders. We learn of her past, of the complicated relationship with her parents and a past which is less straightforward than first appears.

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