Olivia Kiernan

Too Close to Breathe

"Kiernan delivers a powerhouse of a debut'"


TOO SOON TO SEE: Polished. Professional. Perfect. Dead. Respected scientist Dr Eleanor Costello is found hanged in her immaculate home: the scene the very picture of a suicide.

TOO LATE TO HIDE: DCS Frankie Sheehan is handed the case, and almost immediately spots foul play. Sheehan, a trained profiler, is seeking a murderer with a talent for death.

TOO CLOSE TO BREATHE: As Frankie strives to paint a picture of the killer, and their victim, she starts to sense they are part of a larger, darker canvas, on which the lines between the two blur.

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Kiernan’s debut is delectably dark and insidious. Many of us have a thirst for life. It may disturb you, but there are some who wonder what death is like, how it would feel to enter Death’s embrace and can it be cheated, can one be pulled back before the final step to oblivion is taken? You may think I am talking in riddles, creating obfuscation? Well, you’d be right. There isn’t much I can tell you about Kiernan’s debut without giving something away, so I have to watch my step. Frankie Sheehan is not as hard-faced as she’d like others to think. There is a part of her that is vulnerable, (which makes her more approachable as a reader), a vulnerability present since she was attacked by a serial killer who is now on trial. Kiernan makes time for the victims in her book. In fact, they are a drama amongst themselves and not simply a plot device to keep the book moving. It was intriguing the way the layers of the victims were peeled away, revealing human beings who had lives, feelings, history and may not have been as innocent as first thought. There are several twists and turns in this book, with Kiernan’s final reveal being quite a surprise and a neat little twist, something I hadn’t expected, but looking back it was there to see. There are moments of in-depth descriptions which may not be for the feint-hearted, but Kiernan delivers a powerhouse of a debut. I certainly look forward to Sheehan's next case. You may feel I have been deliberately vague with this review. You will realise why when you read ‘Too Close to Breathe’ and thank me later for my reticence so as not to spoil your entertainment. I will simply sign off with… enjoy!

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