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, 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 at least five young women.
The greater the evil, the more deadly the game… How far would you go to save your life?
When she first awoke from her enforced slumber, Emma thought for one glorious, but all too fleeting moment, that the events of the previous night were just a nightmare. But the invasive throbbing pain seemingly erupting from every inch of her face and the congealed blood around her nose and mouth bought reality into sharp unrelenting focus, as she realised that one swollen eye wouldn’t open and reluctantly recalled events prior to the assault. Oh God, it was real. It was all too real! Life had taken a dark and unexpected turn.
4.5* book review:
This is another excellent novel from John Nicholl. Although a stand alone, this novel continues the author’s exploration of how the criminal mind and it’s actions have an impact on their victims minds and personalities. In this case a university student is kidnapped and kept in a windowless room, and tormented by the kidnapper.
I thought that the portrayal of the working relationships between the police team investigating the missing girl came across well. I also like how there were references made back to the arrest of Dr Galbraith (from White is the Coldest Colour.) I did think however, that there were some parts of the story that didn’t feature the missing girl that perhaps would have benefited from a chapter here and there with her in – just to let readers know more about her situation.
The best parts of the book were those that featured the antagonist. John writes a really good bad guy, and this one is sick and twisted. There are a few scenes that shock, but they are not over done and fit in with what is happening in the plot.
I also liked how the story kept taking me in directions I wasn’t expecting, and I didn’t see that ending coming either! This is a dark, twisted psychological thriller written by a brilliant imagination.
I received an ARC copy of the book in exchange for a honest review.
Portraits of the Dead is now available on Amazon for £1.99
You can find John across social media on Facebook, Twitter and his website.
As always, thank you for reading,
All the best,