Ashley Dyer

The Cutting Room

", pacy and intelligently written. "


While Britain is obsessed with the newest hit true crime television show, 'Fact or Fable?', detectives Ruth Lake and Greg Carver are tormented by a fiendish flesh-and-blood killer on the loose.

Lured to a “crime scene” by a mysterious digital invitation, Ruth Lake is horrified by what she finds: a bizarre and gruesome tableau surrounded by a crowd of gawkers. The deadly work is the latest “art installation” designed by a diabolical criminal dubbed the Ferryman. Not only is this criminal cold-blooded; he's a narcissistic exhibitionist desperate for an audience. He's also clever at promoting his deadly handiwork. Exploiting England's current true crime craze, he used social media to titillate and terrorise the public.

Ruth is joined in the investigation by her partner, Greg Carver, who is slowly regaining his strength after a run-in with another sadistic criminal. But Greg can't seem to shake the bewildering effects of the head wound that nearly ended him. Are the strange auras blurring his vision an annoying side effect of his injuring, or could they be something more … a tool to help him see a person's true nature?

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Detectives Greg Carver and Ruth Lake were introduced in 'Splinter in the Blood', a terrific and blood-chilling serial killer novel. Both characters suffer life changing injuries towards the end of the book and 'The Cutting Room' deals, not only with a fresh investigation, but the fallout from the previous case. Ashley Dyer is the pen name for bestselling psychological thriller writer Margaret Murphy and Helen Pepper, a senior lecturer in policing at Teeside University. Together they have created a highly original set of characters and crimes so chilling and disturbing, you'll be sleeping with the lights on for months. For fans of the TV series Luther and Hannibal, this is a series for you; engaging characters, dark stories, terrifying crimes scenes and an intelligent and tautly written plot. Carver and Lake are likeable and relatable detectives. They've both been scarred by their previous investigation and are dealing with past agonies in their own ways. Fans of crime fiction will be familiar with a protagonist hiding their personal pain and taking it out on those around them; that's almost a cliché in crime thrillers. However, this is a novel by Ashley Dyer—no clichés here. Carver's head injuries have left him able to see colours, auras, around people. He can spot a liar as soon as they open their mouths. Lake has an almost photographic memory in that she never forgets a face. Together, they're an indomitable team. Dyer has tapped into the current trend for true crime podcasts and television programmes to create a disturbing killer crying out for an audience to see their “artwork”. Sections of brain encased in plastic, a heart in a box and a body drained of blood are akin to anything seen in Hannibal, but the descriptive narrative is so detailed without descending into gratuitous gore, making this thriller all the more frightening. I hope this is a series that will run and run. It deserves to be hugely successful. It's smart, pacy and intelligently written. This is what the British crime fiction scene has been crying out for.

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