Fresh Blood

Name: Deborah Masson

Title of Book: Hold Your Tongue

' addictive read and one that will steal your time... '

In the run up to Christmas, a serial killer stalks the streets of Aberdeen. A brutal murder. A young woman’s body is discovered with horrifying injuries, a recent newspaper cutting pinned to her clothing.

A detective with everything to prove. This is her only chance to redeem herself.

A serial killer with nothing to lose. He’s waited years, and his reign of terror has only just begun…

Masson launches her reader and detective, Eve Hunter straight in to the thick of it from the start. From the discovery of a woman in an hotel room who has been viciously murdered, Masson delivers squeamish chills galore.

After this discovery, things appear to settle down and I felt that despite the excellent start that Masson, along with her team of detectives slightly lost their way. But I ask you to persevere as when Eve meets her co-worker Sanders who was invalided out of the police force – something officers blame Eve for, then Masson’s story really kicks in to overdrive and I ended up reading over three hundred pages and finishing at 3am!

Masson is clever at casting suspicion on different people, including some in Eve’s own team, leaving me slightly unsure who to believe and propelling me onwards. Other murders ensue and finally the link between them is found which I felt was well thought out and brought the whole plot together.

I felt there could be more depth to Eve and her team, but I am sure Masson will flesh out these characters and make them more three-dimensional in the next books. It will be interesting to see how Eve and the team deal with the aftermath of ‘Hold Your Tongue’ For a debut, this was an addictive read and you will be asking loved ones to hold their tongues while you race to the end of this gripping book.

Reviewed by: C.S.

CrimeSquad Rating

Fresh Blood Questionnaire

1) DI Eve Hunter comes to us already with a lot of baggage. She really has been through Hell in the past year. Why did you heap so much on the poor woman?
I know! I’m so evil! 

I guess I wanted her to have struggles and conflicts that would lend themselves to her drive and ambition, but also the themes in the book. I know a lot is said about the use of the same old tropes – single detective, tortured past etc. but, in many ways, I think there’s a reason for those tropes within the genre.

It’s a tough job with long, unsociable hours that can be difficult to ‘switch off’ from. These people are exposed to horrors that we can only hope we’ll never be party to. Yes, in real life, there are lots of ‘normal’, happily married with 2.4, police officers but this is fiction and I wanted Eve to come to the force as a result of her past – with a drive to catch the bad guys and a wish to make life better for others. I wanted the job to consume her and for it to be her purpose.

Also, in that good old benefit of hindsight, it’s true to say I was going through a bit of a tough time when I started writing the book so I perhaps heaped a lot of darkness in to it as a means of escape. I’m glad to say that the brighter ending to the book reflected being in a happier place in my life too.
2) With a title like ‘Hold Your Tongue’, I guess I’m not really giving much away by saying the killer here cuts out his victims’ tongues. How did the nucleus of your book start?
It began when I was a member of an online writing forum and I enjoyed taking part in the monthly One Word Challenge. The idea being that you would be given a word and then the challenge would be to write a 200-word flash fiction piece inspired by it.

This particular month was ‘sharp’, which got me thinking about ‘tongue so sharp’, and then it snowballed from there…
3) You were very good at sprinkling suspicion, even casting doubt amongst Eve’s own team of detectives. Did you pick this up from reading other crime novels?
Thank you! Yes, I think it’s true to say that I’ve picked it up from reading and watching lots of crime. I’ve also always enjoyed people watching and injecting that ‘what’s their story?’, and that ‘what if’ scenario.
4) Are you staying with Eve Hunter and her team in your next book? Can you tell us a little about it?
Yes, I am going to be staying with them. Book 2 will explore human trafficking, prostitution, and the plight of these girls who are exploited by those in power.
5) What bit of advice would you give to anyone starting out writing their debut?
Make time for it. Believe. And always remember why you started.
6) Are you a fan of crime fiction? If so, which three crime novels would you like with you if stranded on a desert island?
I am a fan of crime fiction, through and through, and this is such a difficult question! There’s so much out there that I’ve read and have still to read.


Mark Billingham’s ‘Sleepyhead’ was one of the first books that introduced me to a police procedural series which I went on to devour, so that would be a definite on my island.

Stuart MacBride’s ‘Cold Granite’ was a book that made me realise that people could use my hometown of Aberdeen as a backdrop for crime fiction – and do it fantastically well.

Sarah Hilary’s ‘Someone Else’s Skin’ was the book that was featured for analysis on the first writing course that I studied. It was an eye-opener on how to write within the genre.