“Dead Inside” by Noelle Holten – Book Review

“I was dead inside, numb to it all even as I tried to remember the happier times.”

Staffordshire has a critical domestic abuse problem. Because of this, a new, specialized police team called DAHU (Domestic Abuse and Homicide Unit) have been set up to deal with murders linked to domestic abuse. In addition, Staffordshire is experiencing an increasing number of substance abusers. The two problems act like nitro and glycerin.

New to the DAHU team is DC Maggie Jamieson. Also new to the team is the goth-dressed criminal psychologist Dr. Kate Moloney.

I was excited to learn that one of the bookbloggers I’ve followed for some time had written a book. I was tickled to read many familiar names sprinkled throughout the novel (the author used several of her bookblogger friends’ names for her characters).

The subject matter of the novel is quite dark and disturbing. Spousal abuse/domestic violence is a difficult topic, but one in which this author is very knowledgeable – having worked as a probation officer herself. She knows her subject, and it shows. She seems to have an innate understanding of the abuser’s psyche – and a knowledge of the cycle of abuse.

I thought that the novel had rather too many characters and found that less would have been more in this case. The protagonist should have been policewoman Maggie Jamieson as this is the first in the D.C. Maggie Jamieson series. However, after reading the book, I clearly felt that probation officer Lucy Sherwood was the protagonist.

Lucy Sherwood was a likable character, yet I was very frustrated with her. She has made her career working with violent offenders/abusers, yet she is abused herself. Surely she would have been more keen to escape her dire situation – and given her line of work had the gumption to do so. I understand that she was thinking of her husband’s children, yet surely even they would have been better off out of that abusive environment…

The narrative was written skillfully and kept me interested in the outcome. This debut novel will be (and has been) enjoyed by many readers. I’ll be interested in what this talented author will write next. All in all, “Dead Inside” was a strong debut.

I received a complimentary digital copy of “Dead Inside” from Killer Reads via NetGalley and the Killer Reads Facebook Group.

Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and a regular reviewer on the Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast.

Noelle worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of cases including those involving serious domestic abuse. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle’s hobbies include reading, author-stalking and sharing the booklove via her blog.
Dead Inside is her debut novel with Killer Reads/Harper Collins UK and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.

Follow Noelle Holten on Twitter.

About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
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13 Responses to “Dead Inside” by Noelle Holten – Book Review

  1. carhicks says:

    Great review Lynne. I have read several reviews of this book and they have all been about the same. Thanks for your honest perspective. I will be checking this one out as it sounds like a very worthwhile start to a new series.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carla I was one of the few who didn’t give this one a ‘glowing’ 5 star review. When I posted my review to the Facebook “Killer Reads” group, they did NOT approve my post. I guess they only post the 5 star reviews. I hate that they do not appreciate honesty. I tried to be fair and honest in my wording – yet they have blocked my review. I’m greatly disillusioned…


  2. Excellent review of a book that I will explore for myself soon.


  3. robinleeann says:

    Great review! I love how honest you were about it.


  4. Excellent review, Lynne. Tough to write that very honest review which definitely adds a ton of credence. Would agree with both of your assessments, too many characters muddle the soup and focus on the wrong protagonist could be confusing. Still–sounds like a great start and know the next will be tightened up.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Shame that it felt like there were too many characters, but good that it kept you interested and that other people have enjoyed it 🙂 Great review!


  6. Yvo says:

    Fab review! I’m glad to hear you enjoyed Dead Inside as well.

    Liked by 1 person

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