The Cutting Roomby Ashley Dyer, Helen Pepper, Margaret Murphy (Website)
Series: Carver and Lake #2
Published by William Morrow & Company on June 18, 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Crime, Mystery, Mystery and Suspense, Thriller
Source: TLC Book Tours
Amazon • Book Depository • Goodreads
I received this book for free from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Detectives Ruth Lake and Greg Carver, introduced in the electrifying Splinter in the Blood, must stop a serial killer whose victims are the centerpiece of his macabre works of art.
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 uses social media to titillate and terrorize 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 injury, or could they be something more . . . a tool to help him see a person’s true nature?
In this utterly engrossing and thrilling tale of suspense, a pair of seasoned detectives face off against a wickedly smart and inventive psychopath in a tense, bloody game that leads to a shocking end.
British crime thrillers and mysteries are favorites of mine, and The Cutting Room by Ashley Dyer proved to be more than your run of the mill murder mystery. When a sadistic, extremely smart and elusive serial killer is on the loose in Liverpool, DCI Greg Carver and Sargent Ruth Lake must piece together the cryptic puzzles and meaning behind his art–made of pieces of his victims and used to make very personal and political statements. Rapidly gaining a large and rabid following on social media, the killer makes each crime scene muddled with fans and multiple victims’ body parts, leaving the police with a tough job to track him down. Dubbing himself the Ferryman, his legend is becoming larger than life while he hides in the shadows, creating art from the victims he seems to snatch off the streets.
The Cutting Room is book two in this series, and I didn’t have a problem jumping right in. There was a enough backstory given for Carver and Lake throughout the book that I felt their experiences in the previous book were fleshed out. Both of them are dealing with issues from their last big murder case, with Carver having a much harder time of it with flashbacks, dissociative periods, as well as a newfound talent for seeing people’s auras. Ruth has locked down her experience a bit tighter since she’s been dealing with trauma and loss for most of her life, and she’s able to focus on her work–until her estranged brother appears and seems to be on the periphery of the Ferryman investigation.
Told in third person point of view, the characters are fleshed out pretty nicely–even the serial killer–and I really enjoyed getting to know both Carver and Lake, as well as the police officers that joined the investigation. The crime scenes are written with accuracy and detail, which could probably be a bit graphic at times for some people. I’m a scientist and I’ve taken forensic science courses in graduate school, so I really enjoyed the realistic slant of the crime scenes and investigations, along with the added drama of fictional characterizations.
I give The Cutting Room a 4.5 out of 5. This police procedural is dark and twisty, with red herrings that weren’t easy to see through. I loved that the book was a good mix of character and plot driven, and the main characters were complex people with flaws. The killer was inventive, driven, and quite motivated to make himself known but without being in the direct spotlight himself, which made for some interesting commentary on the current state of social media. Overall, I highly enjoyed The Cutting Room and I will be looking for the next installment in this series!
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About Ashley Dyer
Ashley Dyer is a writing duo based in the United Kingdom.
Margaret Murphy is a Writing Fellow and Reading Round Lector for the Royal Literary Fund, a past chair of the Crime Writers Association (CWA), and founder of Murder Squad. A CWA Short Story Dagger winner, she has been shortlisted for the First Blood critics’ award for crime fiction as well as the CWA Dagger in the Library. Under her own name she has published nine psychological suspense and police procedural novels.
Helen Pepper is a senior lecturer in policing at Teesside University. She has been an analyst, forensic scientist, scene of crime officer, CSI, and crime scene manager. She has coauthored, as well as contributed to, professional policing texts. Her expertise is in great demand with crime writers: she is a judge for the CWA’s Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction Award, and is a forensic consultant on both the Vera and Shetland TV series.
Find out more at their website, www.ashley-dyer.com.
Connect with Ashley Dyer
Ashley Dyer’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS for THE CUTTING ROOM:
Wednesday, June 19th: Instagram: @readingwithmere
Thursday, June 20th: Instagram: @beauty_andthebook_
Thursday, June 20th: Instagram: @crystals_library
Friday, June 21st: Instagram: @wherethereadergrows
Saturday, June 22nd: Instagram: @readingbetweenthe__wines
Sunday, June 23rd: Instagram: @simplykelina
Monday, June 24th: Instagram: @jess_reads_books
Tuesday, June 18th: Instagram: @beritaudiokilledthebookmark
Thursday, June 20th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Friday, June 21st: Bewitched Bookworms
Monday, June 24th: Thoughts From a Highly Caffeinated Mind
Tuesday, June 25th: A Pint-Sized Life
Wednesday, June 26th: Literary Quicksand
Thursday, June 27th: A Wondrous Bookshelf
Friday, June 28th: Tales of a Book Addict
Monday, July 1st: Jathan & Heather
Tuesday, July 2nd: Tina Says…
Friday, July 5th: Comfy Reading