As part of the Blog Blitz for Portraits Of The Dead by John Nicholl I’m thrilled to be sharing my review, but before I do here’s the book description…..
Emma didn’t know how long he hid, silent and unmoving, in the large Victorian wardrobe to the side of her single bed. She didn’t know how long he peered out, salivating and drooling, between the two heavy dark oak doors, and watched, mesmerised, as she slowly drifted into fitful sleep. She didn’t know what time he pushed the doors open and crept towards her in the drab grey darkness of the night.
Detective Inspector Gravel finds himself floundering when a local nineteen-year-old university student is abducted and imprisoned by a sadistic serial killer, who has already tortured and killed five young women.
How far would you go to save your life?
Portraits Of The Dead completely freaked me out and that was just from looking at the fantastic and very creepy cover! It’s the clown that did it, they absolutely terrify me! There is no doubt about it author John Nicholl certainly knows how to write a darkly disturbing and hair-raising tale, in my opinion this is the authors best book yet. The author pulls the reader in with a shocking and sinister opening chapter, it was so intense I just knew I was in for a hell of a read.
A young student is abducted and imprisoned by a sadistic serial killer, and my god he’s one deviant and twisted individual, devoid of empathy, incapable of sympathy or understanding he torments his victims in the cruellest possible ways. The author portrays the serial killer so well I felt I was looking into the darkest corners of the human mind. There is another shocking character who is just as evil and twisted, and shocked me to the core with their antics, but if you want to know more about them you will have to read the book (no spoilers here). The characters are well developed, and although not necessarily likeable they added depth to a very intriguing read.
Not only do we get to know the serial killer during Portraits Of The Dead, we also get to learn about the victim and her time as a captive, although the way she was treated at times made for an uncomfortable read, it wasn’t particularly graphic but chilling never the less. As the investigation intensifies and police appeals are made, we do get to see glimpses of the police side of the investigation, again there were some great characters who appeared very credible in their investigation to find Emma and bring a killer to justice.
Despite working out who the killer was half way through the book, this in no way spoilt the novel for me, in fact it heightened the tension as you weren’t entirely sure what the killer would do next. The plot moves along at a steady pace with some shocks along the way, some of which I never saw coming, so this certainly added to my enjoyment of Portraits Of The Dead Just as you thought the author could not possibly have any more shocks in store for the reader, he hits you with the biggest one of all! By the time I reached the end of the novel I was well and truly struck dumb, the author managed to tie up the plot in a very original way, which I loved (sorry that’s all you’re getting, no spoilers remember!)
I’m afraid there is no way to avoid the cliché: I could not put this novel down! Disturbing and compelling, an edge-of-the-seat story. I would certainly recommend this book to crime lovers and anyone else who is looking for a gripping and darkly disturbing read.
- Print Length: 273 pages
- Publisher: Bloodhound Books (16 July 2018)
Buying links: Amazon UK 🇬🇧
About the author
John Nicholl, an ex-police officer, child protection social worker and lecturer, has written six darkly psychological suspense thrillers, each of which has been an Amazon # 1 bestseller. John is happily married, lives in rural west Wales, and has three adult children and one grandchild, with a second expected in August 2018. He began writing after leaving his job heading up child protection services for Carmarthenshire.
John is represented by Toby Mundy – Literary agent at TMA.
You can find out more about John and his books at: http://www.johnnicholl.com