I decided this year that I was going to leave star ratings off my blog – but today I make an exception as this bloody beauty gets #AllTheFrigginStars! and some!
Set in London, the reader is pulled into a cyber world where a group of #TrueCrimeGeeks are in a race against the police to catch The Lover – a serial killer whose crimes are escalating – and what a race it is! We are faced with a haunting past, secrets, exposure, anxiety, fear, corruption, the choice of right and wrong, egoism, and a search for the truth – but also SO MUCH MORE!
Now let me just say – The prologue …THAT prologue..BOOM! 💥 I was instantly intrigued and breathless, nearly had to call all the 9’s as I was gasping for air so much after I read it! Friggin hell, Steph(anie)- you are one clever writer! This is how you do it, peeps! The story is told from both DI Dominic Bell and Clementine Starke’s POV and I loved how this worked! The storyline was creative and fresh – made me think, EXCITED me, and had me swiping my kindle so fast, I’m convinced my fingerprints have now been erased! Might come in handy… *kidding* 🤔😉 but hmmmm… 🤣
Characters are my thing- I get so wrapped up in their development if an author can create that magical pull that makes it worth it. Ms. Marland NAILED it. DI Dominic Bell has a lot on his plate but was edgy, intelligent and determined. He is both likable and unlikable, with many layers and depth which leaves the reader desperate to know more about him.
🎶 Oh my darlin’, Clementine…🎶 I bloody LOVED this character! I know this series is classed as Starke & Bell, but Clementine was the character that really drew me in. Her backstory, her mind, her motivation and her interests all had me on the edge of my seat desperate to know how things would turn out. I have SO many theories and questions about her – the darkness that hangs over her, some of her thoughts…😱…damn, she is such a fiesty, concerning, clever and focused young woman – I need to know everything about her!
The True Crime London group had a fascinating mix of peeps – the Breakfast Club of true crime followers. Diverse and intent on catching the killer before the police, you find yourself willing them on whilst cringing at the risks they take. I adored these characterisations! I was right there with them all as they sifted through their evidence. Oh yeah- they were a great bunch.
Even the killer – The Lover- had me glued to the pages. Using my (horrendous) profiling skills to draw out who this person was. I made an educated guess and I was right…sort of…but *no spoilers* from me!
Would I recommend this book? Oh YES! Yes! Yes! You better believe I would! My Little Eye had a Luther-esque feel to it but it’s unique, risky, dark and addictive story really got under my skin. I am more than a little bit excited about this series and I tell you what – Steph(anie) Broadribb/Marland is a refreshing, exhilarating and absolutely powerful new voice in crime fiction. Can’t wait for the next in this series!
My Little Eye is the first book in the Starke and Bell series written by Stephanie Marland. Sshhh, don’t tell anyone but Stephanie Marland is actually a pen name for another favourite of mine (that’s author AND blogger), Steph Broadribb! Steph writes the breathtakingly good Lori Anderson series, published by Orenda Books. Writing as Stephanie Marland her latest series, featuring Clementine Starke and Dominic Bell, is published by the fabulous folk at Trapeze Books. Of all the books in all the world, this one was pretty much at the top of my MUST READ list.
I’ve been SO excited about getting around to reading My Little Eye, and I really enjoyed it. Knowing that this author (in her other guise) writes one of my very favourite crime series, I was looking forward to seeing how she would write these new characters, the more ‘local’ setting (for us Brits!) and exactly how different it would be to her very distinct Lori Anderson series. And it was just that; very very different. Great different. You can’t really compare the two but they’re both as equally marvellous as each other.
We meet Clementine Starke, a PhD student in psychology, specifically human-computer interaction. Yeah, I scratched my head at that too. Basically, Clementine likes to study how we present ourselves online; the lies we tell, the *cough* truths we omit. The reader soon discovers that Clementine Starke has other dark secrets as well which Marland manages to adeptly tease us with as the story progresses. Starke is part of a London-based forum of true crime addicts. True crime addicts who believe the police are incompetent, corrupt and generally inept. True crime addicts who are out to solve a murder, to beat the police in cracking the case. And oh boy, what a case they have chosen to crack! The Lover is London’s latest serial killer. When a second victim is found, Starke’s group closes rank and start their own investigation. DI Dominic Bell is the lead detective tasked with apprehending The Lover. Bell is struggling with his own demons though, including an Internal Affairs investigation into his last case. Can Bell piece the clues together before it’s too late and The Lover takes another victim? How far will Starke go before she realises she’s in too deep…?
I absolutely loved Starke and I loved Bell. I’m fascinated to see where Marland is going to take the second book as, although it sounds from the blurb like Bell and Starke are a team, they really aren’t and only come to meet towards the end of the book. He is a senior police officer, she is a PhD student who prefers to spend time inside her flat in her own company.
I did see where the plot was heading but I didn’t really care as I was enjoying the book so much. I love a serial killer thriller (more than any other crime thriller, really) and it was great to have what felt like a modern-day amateur sleuth take on the big guys, the serial killers. The addition of a competent but distracted detective worked an absolute treat for me and I’m really excited to read the next instalment in this series for that reason.
Would I recommend this book? Absolutely. It’s a twisty, modern day take on a serial killer thriller which I thoroughly enjoyed. Fast-paced and addictive, I’m left wanting more. They’re an unlikely duo but oh my gosh, they work. I just hope they don’t do something daft like fall in love…*shudder*