No Stranger to Death

No Stranger to Death
Author's Twitter: @JanetOkane
A Scottish village. A burning corpse. Some very dark secrets. Can recently-widowed Doctor Zoe Moreland discover who’s killing her patients in time to save herself from becoming the next victim? Recently-widowed Doctor Zoe Moreland moves from an English city to a village in the Scottish Borders for a fresh start among strangers unaware of her tragic past. However, any hopes she had of a quiet life are dashed by her dog finding a woman’s body in the remains of a Guy Fawkes bonfire. Although the last thing Zoe wants is to get caught up in a murder investigation, this changes when someone else dies unexpectedly and she herself narrowly escapes death. Determined not to become the killer’s next victim, she digs beneath the tranquil surface of the close-knit community to find out who is committing these horrible acts. And discovers that some secrets can be deadly.

Reviewed by Awesome Indies

No Stranger to Death Review: A good first Novel

A grisly murder in a sleepy Scottish Borders village opens this debut novel by Janet O’Kane. The body is discovered by a relative newcomer to the village, who has joined the local surgery as a GP. 

Doctor Moreland is the central character and the novel, written in the third person, is told from her point of view. However, it is a distant, almost clinical POV, and given that she survives two attempts on her life, is involved in three suspicious deaths, and is just starting a relationship, I would like to have seen some more intimate third person perspective apart from her doubts about her prospective boyfriend. 

There is a good range of characters, with many of the supporting ones well portrayed, revealing more about them gradually as the novel progresses. The atmosphere of a small village is well created through the use of dialogue and characterisation.

The plot is not just a whodunit but manages to weave different sub-plots neatly into the main story without being distracting and there are some interesting red herrings and twists. The beginning is paced more slowly to set context, and pauses slightly at times with some minor insignificant detail, but as more is revealed later in the book, the pace picks up considerably, and through a number of red herrings and twists, builds up to an unexpected climax.

Strengths of this book were characterisation, thoughtful plot (and sub-plots), and the way the story played out. A lot of the story was conveyed through dialogue and was well-written and credible. When the immediate action happened it was very good. There were few literal errors.

Recommended to anyone who likes a mystery/crime novel that focuses on thinking, and one thatin its favourisn’t full of unnecessary gore. It’s a good first novel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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