#BookReview: Survivor’s Guilt by Michael Wood @0neMoreChapter_ #SurvivorsGuilt #damppebbles


Nine months ago DCI Matilda Darke survived a bullet to the head. The brutal attack claimed dozens of lives, including those she loved most, and the nightmares still plague her every waking thought.


Now, she’s ready to get back on the job. But a new terror awaits. A woman is found murdered and her wounds look eerily similar to several cold cases. Desperate to find a lead, DCI Darke and her team must face a terrifying truth: a serial killer is on the loose in Sheffield.


Matilda has led countless murder investigations before but the lingering emotional scars from her ordeal and the uneasiness within her once-tight team have left tensions high. As the body count rises, Matilda realises that this might just be where it all ends.

The brand new instalment in the DCI Matilda Darke series will leave you on the edge of your seat. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Kathy Reichs and Peter James.”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of Survivor’s Guilt which is the eighth book in the DCI Matilda Darke series written by Michael Wood. Survivor’s Guilt was published by One More Chapter earlier this week (on Thursday 28th October 2021) and is available in paperback, audio and digital formats. I chose to read and review a free eARC of Survivor’s Guilt but that has in no way influenced my review.

I could not wait to get my mitts on this book. After the devastating events of the previous book, Time is Running Out, I was keen to see where the author would take Darke and her team next. I will say at this point that I feel you need to have read the last couple of books to get a feel for what the characters have been through in the lead up to this new investigation, and where they all are emotionally. Going in blind, reading this book without prior knowledge will leave you asking questions. However, I will also say that this is a series worth investing in. Wood is a courageous writer who has his readers on the edge of their seat from start to finish. And there’s always a breath-taking twist to the tale.

DCI Matilda Darke has returned to work after being shot in the head nine months earlier. The dynamic within her team has changed noticeably in her absence but there’s not a lot of time to dwell on that as a body has been found and it’s down to the Homicide and Major Crime Unit to find the killer. The victim is a local prostitute and on closer inspection, she bears similar wounds to another cold-case murder victim, also a prostitute. Could a serial killer be targeting Sheffield prostitutes? And can Darke and her team find the killer before it’s too late…?

Oh, how things have changed. After the devastation of the last book it’s clear the team is still hurting. Matilda’s return, instead of bringing the HMCU back together, seems to fracture it even further. She is, after all, a changed woman, dealing with her own trauma and suffering silently from survivor’s guilt. Her support network is not as strong as it once was and perhaps, as a result, she feels she has something to prove. Which inevitably ends up frustrating the other members of the team, particularly her longstanding supporters DI Brady and DS Mills. The author has moved the Carl Meagan storyline on in this book which also distracts Matilda from the new investigation. It’s clear that our once driven, focussed and ambitious DCI is struggling to cope.

But whether – or not – Matilda is fit for the job, there is still a killer stalking the streets of Sheffield and it’s down to the HMCU to stop them. The author knows how to keep his readers on the edge of their seats and as a result, I was drawn immediately into the investigation. With a long running series you often meet characters who aren’t necessarily a part of the main cast but help move things along. Prostitutes Bev and Sarah are two such characters. The team often turn to them for their knowledge of the streets, popping up here and there but not contributing a lot. However, they both played an important part in Survivor’s Guilt and I enjoyed getting to know them better. The other characters – the more well known members of the team who feature regularly – continue to be very well written.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. Survivor’s Guilt is another fantastic, thrilling read and a terrific addition to a strong series. However, I don’t think this book will work as well if you’re reading it as a standalone. I strongly recommend you read a couple of the earlier books in the series first, in particular Time is Running Out. You have been warned! That’s the last I’m going to say on the matter 😂 The ending was a complete and utter shock to me. My detective skills failed me once again and I wasn’t able to work out whodunit so when the reveal happened…O.M.G.!!! Bloody marvellous. With great character development and a writer who isn’t afraid to mix things up a little, I’m excited to see what happens to Matilda & Co. next. Recommended.

I chose to read and review a free eARC of Survivor’s Guilt. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Survivor’s Guilt by Michael Wood was published in the UK by One More Chapter on 28th October 2021 and is available in paperback, audio and digital formats (please note, the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | bookshop.org | Goodreads | damppebbles bookshop.org shop |

Michael Wood is a freelance journalist and proofreader living in Sheffield. As a journalist he has covered many crime stories throughout Sheffield, gaining first-hand knowledge of police procedure. He also reviews books for CrimeSquad, a website dedicated to crime fiction.

Author Links: | Twitter | Facebook |

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