“When elderly George Rainsford goes to investigate a suspicious noise one night, the last thing he expects to find is a bloodbath. A man has been killed and a woman brutally beaten, left for dead.
The victims are Lois Craven and Kevin Hardaker – both married, but not to each other. Their spouses swear they knew nothing of the affair and, besides, they both have alibis for the attack. With nothing else to link the victims, the investigation hits a dead end.
The pressure is on for investigating officer, DCI Matilda Darke: there’s a violent killer on the loose, and it looks like her team members are the new targets. With no leads and no suspects, it’s going to take all Matilda’s wits to catch him, before he strikes again.”
I’m thrilled to be today’s stop on the Outside Looking In blog tour. In true damppebbles style, this is the first DCI Matilda Darke book I have read despite it being the second book in the series (at least I’m not too late to the party with this one!). And oh my gosh, I love Matilda Darke. And I love Michael Wood’s style. Totally readable and very engrossing.
The bodies of a couple are discovered in their car following what looks like a massacre. He is dead, beyond resuscitating and she is barely hanging onto life. DCI Matilda Darke is put on the case and soon discovers the victims are Kevin Hardaker and Lois Craven who were having a secret affair for over a year. But why would someone kill these two fairly normal people, and why with such vengeance and hatred? Suffering from negative publicity and her own demons, can Matilda discover who killed the couple and why, before anyone else is hurt…?
I should start by saying that DCI Darke has made it onto the illustrious damppebbles #girlcrush list. I LOVE her. She’s so wonderfully normal, the kind of person I’d like to pop down to Costa with for a coffee (I would say ‘pub’ and ‘white wine’ but she’s on the wagon!). Thankfully I have the first book in the series, ‘For Reasons Unknown’ on my TBR so I can get my second fix of DCI Darke, ha ha! Anyway, enough of my new womance…
The pacing of the plot is spot on with the story unfolding at a thoroughly enjoyable rate. I wanted to keep turning the pages, I wanted to find out what was going to happen. There was a moment where I felt pure dread for one character. I won’t say anymore as I don’t do spoilers but oh my!
The conclusion is gripping and kept me on the edge of my seat. There is encounter at the end of the book which I hope Michael Wood will be building on in the third book. I’m looking forward to seeing where that particular story line goes.
This book does work as a standalone but I think it helps (no matter what the series or who the author) to read books in their correct order. I wasn’t sure whether the missing child case that is mentioned often is something that was covered in book one or if it happened in the distant past. I think going into a series partway through does leaving you feeling like you’ve missed a couple of important days at school!
I loved the nod to other great crime writers (being a crime fiction fanatic!). I was hugely jealous of Matilda’s book inheritance and could immediately picture the bookcase she would need (boy, would it be big!). If anyone would like to donate their crime fiction collection to me, the address is Emma @damppebbles….heh heh.
Would I recommend this book? I most certainly would but I think starting at book one is the best way forward. Outside Looking In is totally compelling, thoroughly engaging and you’ll really like DCI Matilda Darke.
Four and a half out of five stars.
Michael Wood is a proofreader and former journalist in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. His first novel featuring DCI Matilda Darke, FOR REASONS UNKNOWN, was released in the autumn of 2015. The follow-up, OUTSIDE LOOKING IN, is released in May 2016 in ebook format by Killer Reads at HarperCollins.