Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #Thriller A Kiss Before Killing by @keithpmccarthy @EndeavourPress

Today’s team review is from Noelle, she blogs here

#RBRT Review Team

Noelle has been reading A Kiss Before Killing by Keith McCarthy


As written in the book description: This is not for the faint-hearted reader of crime thrillers — it shines a light into the darkest recesses of the human soul.

I will state at the outset there are parts of this mystery which are grisly. The author is a physician/pathologist and clearly knows about dissection and forensics, which lends great reality to his story. I am a trained anatomist and have done many cadaver dissections, so I could deal with the descriptions, but there may be some potential readers who couldn’t. Fair warning.

As for the story itself, it is multi-layered and the reader needs to pay close attention to detail. The main characters – Beverly Wharton, John Eisenmenger (with whom she had had a relationship), and Tom Bayes, the rookie, are well-drawn and compelling. Wharton’s relationship with Eisenmenger is interesting and nuanced and I enjoyed watching the gradual maturation of Bayes as Wharton’s partner. Superintendent Lambert was clearly intended to be an irritant as he oversees Wharton’s work, and he certainly is, but I found his interactions with somewhat over the top and not particularly professional.

Dr. Claire Woodforde, by contrast, was pale and indeterminate. I never really got a feeling for her as a person, and the part of the mystery concerning the unexpected deaths in the hospital proceeded at a lethargic pace. The portrayal of the hospital administration was all too real, but even though this aspect of the book ultimately tied into the search for the murderer of the owners of the headless and limbless bodies, it never really captured my interest.

While there is great tension towards the last third of the book, there was an overall lack of emotion on the part of the characters with regard to the deaths. The dialogue was realistic and the author did a good job carrying the story forward, although at drastically different paces.

Overall, this book was a competent and occasionally compelling read, with enough twists and turns to hold your interest.

Book description

Each man kills the thing he loves…

Edward Marsham is admitted to the Royal Infirmary having hung himself in his prison cell.

As predicted, he dies.

In the wake of several unexpected deaths at the hospital, however, Dr. Claire Woodforde suspects there is a killer amongst the staff. As Detective Chief Inspector Beverley Wharton and her new sergeant Tom Bayes begin to investigate Marsham’s death, they too start to wonder if it was natural or whether someone…

helped him along.

But as they start to make headway on the case, something much more sinister comes to light.

A body is found in an empty house.

A body without its limbs. And head.

Dr. John Eisenmenger is tasked with examining the torso to uncover clues which will lead to its identity and cause of death; a grisly job even for the most hardened of pathologists.

But as the investigation unfolds, the team discovers that there is much, much worse to come, and in addition, there is growing suspicion that there is a link between the two cases.

This not-for-the-faint-hearted crime thriller shines a light into the darkest recesses of the human soul.

About the author

Keith McCarthy is a pathologist and writer of crime fiction, known for his Eisenmenger-Flemming Forensic Mysteries. He also writes under the name Lance Elliot.

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12 thoughts on “Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #Thriller A Kiss Before Killing by @keithpmccarthy @EndeavourPress

  1. Sounds like a mixed book on the likeable scale. I have no problem with books that are graphic in their murder scene, but I would need to be able to connect with the characters. Lovely review. X


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