Book Review – Dying Breath

DBTitle: Dying Breath

Author: Helen Phifer

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication Date: 23rd November 2017

Format: ARC e-Book

This book was received from the publisher in return for an honest review


About the book:

Take a breath. Pray it’s not your last.

Just a few months after a terrifying case that nearly took her life, Detective Lucy Harwin is back with her squad in the coastal town of Brooklyn Bay – and this time, she’s faced with a case more horrifying than anything she’s encountered.

Along with her partner, Detective Mattie Jackson, Lucy is investigating what appears to be a vicious but isolated murder; a woman found bludgeoned to death on a lonely patch of wasteland.

But when a second victim is discovered strangled in an alleyway, then a young family shot in their own home, Lucy and the team must face the unthinkable reality – a killer is walking the streets of their town.

While Lucy and the team try to find the link between these seemingly unconnected murders, they uncover a disturbing truth – these murders are replicating those carried out by infamous serial killers.

Lucy must get to the killer before he strikes again. But he’s got his sights on her, and is getting ever closer… Can she save herself, before she becomes the final piece in his twisted game?

A dark, gripping and sinister crime novel that will hook fans of Patricia Gibney, Joy Ellis and Angela Marsons from the very first page.


What I Thought:

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog blast for Dying Breath by Helen Phifer. Dying Breath is the second story in the Detective Lucy Harwin series which began in March 2017 with The Lost Children, which was later renamed Dark House – you can find my review here.

Dying Breath picks up a few months after the end of Dark House, Detective Harwin is back at work and soon finds herself standing over another dead body and in the midst of a new murder investigation, when a second body is discovered and then a family is found murdered in their own home Lucy is faced with a decision to make: is she hunting for three separate killers, or despite all appearances to the contrary are the three cases linked?

I was so pleased to be immersed back into Lucy’s world, I’d been keeping my eye out for book two from the moment I turned the last page of Dark House and Dying Breath didn’t disappoint. Dying Breath‘s plot is extremely well written with twists and turns to keep you turning the pages, and clues to keep you second guessing yourself. I was right alongside Lucy trying to figure out if the deaths were linked, and if so how, as well as who was doing the killing.

Helen incorporates flashback chapters looking back at the childhood of the unknown killer, I really enjoyed these chapters, I think they added an additional layer of depth to a character that despite being key to any murder mystery tale is often over looked in favour of showing the detective’s prowess, often staying undiscovered and unknown until the final chapter. Helen managed all this without giving away too much, or spoiling the mystery too early.

That’s certainly not to say that the detectives in this story are in any way lacking. Lucy is a wonderful protagonist, she’s clever, dedicated to her job and doesn’t suffer fools gladly. Helen builds on what we learnt about Lucy during the first novel, I enjoyed reading the developments in her relationship with her daughter, and to a lesser extent her ex-husband, once again I think Helen managed to really successfully balance personal character development while keeping the main plot moving forwards.

Mattie also returns, he’s not as developed as Lucy but he’s still a really enjoyable character to read about. Like Lucy he’s a solid detective, dedicated to his job and I love the friendship between Lucy and Mattie. I’m really intrigued to see how their relationship develops moving forwards.


Would I Recommend?

It’s a yes for any crime fans reading this. I would definitely recommend picking up Dark House first, the plot in Dying Breath works as a standalone but I think having the back story from the first book and knowing a bit more about the characters makes it even more enjoyable. I’ll be looking forward to the next chapter in the series.

4.5 Stars


Other books in the Detective Lucy Harwin series

More Helen Phifer reviews

More Detective Lucy Harwin reviews


Want to buy it?

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As always if you’ve read the book let me know what you thought! If you’ve not read it yet will my review convince you to pick it up? Be sure to check out the other blogs taking part in the blog blast!


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