DEAD FLOWERS By Nicola Monaghan


She doesn’t trust the police. She used to be one of them.

Hardened by ten years on the murder squad, DNA analyst Doctor Sian Love has seen it all. So when she finds human remains in the basement of her new home, she knows the drill.

Except this time it’s different. This time, it’s personal….


I love crime stories whether they are true crime, fiction, both British or American I enjoy reading them. I haven’t read anything by Nicola Monaghan before so was interested to see how this book was, I wasn’t disappointed.The story begins in Nottingham in 1967 in a Pub named ‘The Loggerheads’ which I admit I have never seen a pub with such a name but will be on the lookout. A number of interesting characters, Angela a woman trying to escape her abusive husband, the developing relationship with Harry Kenzie, and her sister, Marilyn’s with Bobby O’Quaid, the bartender. Harry has dreams of owning the pub but for that he needs the support of Pat Walsh, Harry also hopes his band will make it bigger than the Beatles.

We then jump to 2017 and see 46 year old Sian Love who is an ex Detective Inspector who quit the police force, after being disillusioned about the corruption, sexism and racism. She now specialises in DNA analysis, she has just inherited her uncles pub formerly known as ‘the Loggerheads’ which comes as a complete surprise to both her and her family. She had always been fond of her uncle Rob and tales he would tell, although she never knew which were the truth and which were fiction.

Sian decides to move into the pub with her German Shepherd dog called Elvis, an ex cadaver dog. With the help of Elvis she makes a gruesome discovery finding the skeletal remains of two bodies behind a door that’s been plastered over in the cellar, breaking her leg in the process. Now she has to decide whether to call it in, or not being an ex copper she doesn’t trust them. But her boyfriend who is a DI insists she has to call it in. With police everywhere around her new home, Sian is forced to move out.

Before the police arrived Sian decided to take a sample of the mummified body for her own analysis. Because she doesn’t trust the police, and she doesn’t want her dead uncle being blamed for anything, as she is convinced he had nothing to do with the bodies. Sian is even less confident in the investigation when she learns that the acting SIO on the case is Detective Superintendent Dominic Wilkinson. She has worked with him in the past and suspects he is in the pocket of many criminals. She is even more suspicious when he assigns a DI Jon Breen , as family liaison officer, a man she doesn’t trust.

Sian doesn’t know who she can trust, she even doubts her own boyfriend, she certainly doesn’t trust the police, she decides to test the samples she took to see what answers they may show. But what if she doesn’t like the results?

Sian finds herself in danger many times throughout the book, being followed late at night,she fears for her life, as this case starts to look more personal than she ever expected, uncovering buried family secrets and tragedy from the past. The more she digs, the more questions she finds, who was buried in the cellar? And why?

With a dual timeline running through linking the past and the present. There are a number of twists and turns, which all come together nicely but just when you think you have figured it out there is that final thing that just throws you completely off.

This is a well written book with enough suspense, drama and atmosphere that just keeps you turning the pages. Some of the writing emphasises the times of the late sixties and seventies the different social expectations and attitudes towards women that were present during that time.

Sian is a little over the top with her trust issues at times. But overall this is a really good read. Highly recommend to anyone who likes crime fiction.

I give it five stars out of five and would certainly read other books by this author will be looking to see what other books she has written.

I would like to thank netgalley and Verve books for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

This book is available now as a paperback or ebook

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