No Place to Die

no place to diePublished: 2015
Author: Clare Donoghue

A great crime thriller – my favourite of 2015 so far


What’s your worst fear? I’m terrified of flying (or at least I’m terrified of not flying), for other people it’s heights, crowds or snakes. One fear I would expect to see come high on the lists of most popular phobias is that of being buried alive. It’s a horrible thought, the darkness, the air slowly draining away, the inability to move, and the slow numbing of your body until it shuts down completely. I can imagine why so many people are terrified of the idea of being buried alive. It’s this fear that runs throughout Clare Donoghue’s second novel No Place to Die .

DS Jane Bennett is in charge of the Lewisham murder squad following the suspension of her boss, DI Mike Lockyer. A former colleague is reported missing and the search uncovers the shallow grave of a missing student, Maggie Hungerford. Jane’s investigation uncovers the possibility that Maggie has been killed as part of a twisted psychological experiment. An experiment which may not be finished and which may pose a deadly risk to more potential victims. Lockyer and Bennett have to work quickly to discover which, if either, of Maggie’s two lovers has been lying to them.

This is the second in Donoghue’s DI Mike Lockyer series and, perhaps unfortunately, I haven’t read the first Never Look Back. There are repeated references in No Place to Die to the events in the previous case and I was itching to know what I had missed. You can quite happily read No Place to Die without having read Never Look Book, however having done that I would suggest you try to read the books in order. Your enjoyment of No Place to Die won’t be damaged by coming to it fresh, but I get the feeling it may well be enhanced by knowing the back story.

I really enjoyed No Place to Die, it’s one of the most satisfying crime novels I’ve read in quite a while. The story is delightfully twisted, however those who aren’t keen on explicit violence have nothing to worry about, there’s nothing too gruesome on the page. Unless that is you suffer from Taphophobia, then this is probably fairly horrific reading. For the rest of us the violence is (mostly) implied.

I liked the characters immensely, Bennett and Lockyer both seemed believable – neither is perfect and both are prone to make mistakes but they are not so flawed that they become irritating. The procedural part of the story seemed realistic to me, decent sized teams of officers carrying out a wide range of jobs not just the two main characters doing everything themselves. Even when I don’t identify the bad guy, I’m normally quite good at anticipating twists but the big reveal in No Place to Die completely threw me. I did not see it coming at all but it made perfect sense.

I did have a minor quibble with a scene involving one character performing CPR on another character they knew to have a pulse, but neither the book nor this review are probably the right place for an in-depth discussion on effective resuscitation methods.

This is a great read, my favourite of the year so far and when I was reaching the end of the book I was tempted so put it down so that it would last a little bit longer.  I’ll certainly be looking out for Book One in the series, and eagerly anticipating the release of Book Three.

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