The Present

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Member Reviews

Read with The Present by Charlotte Phillips, two books with the same title but two very different storylines.
Charlotte Phillips gave us a beautiful story of love, D S Devlin gives us a story of death!
As much as I love the the other book of the two, this one is hands down my favourite.
Do you give your xmas gifts a little shake trying to figure out what is inside before you get to open it? This might have you being a bit dubious in the unwrapping!
A killer Christmas read that has a present for everyone!
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I received an advanced reader's copy in exchange for an honest review

Very clever concept but execution second tier
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I liked the idea of the story. The Santa killer who apparently likes the song "Twelve days of Christmas" and plants presents and/or hints every day in the run up til Christmas. Journalist Anna is determined to catch the killer before all the days have run out.
I also liked how the story develops, with the first clues leading to others. With Annas search. (Although I found her a bit too self-confident when she says already at the very beginning that she will find him this year, she will be smarter than all the cops and she will catch him before he kills his next victim. How can she be so sure of herself with not even one clue yet?) I even found the big showdown quite good, although not heartstopping despite the surprise effects.

It's only that I found the writing style not always fitting for a crime novel. All these rhetorical questions Anna is asking herself (and sometimes answering, too) were annoying for example.

But overall it was an enjoyable read.
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I do love a crime thriller set over Christmas time so I couldn’t resist grabbing this one recently. It starts off so well when Anna, a journalist, receives a gruesome gift at her home in the days following the murder of a man and kidnap of his wife. It’s believed to be the work of the serial killer dubbed Santa Killer who has been killing people at Christmas for a few years. After a kill he leaves ‘gifts’ for twelve days of Christmas at which point the kidnap victim is usually found dead. The first part of this book had me gripped and I couldn’t put it down but it did all fall away a bit as the book went on. The problem for me is that there was only really two suspects in the book so it soon became obvious who the killer is and I just got increasingly frustrated with how Anna couldn’t work it out. I did finish the book though and I would be interested to read what the author writes next.
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A graphic story of a serial killer's 12 year spree. No detail is spared and D S Devlin obviously has an understanding of most people's greatest fear. I bought into Anna as a character, and her relationship with her friend, former, fellow journalist, Miles, provided light relief in an otherwise terrifying book. In all honesty I had twigged the identity of the murderer before the denouement, but that didn't in any way detract from my enjoyment. A well written tale, which moves along at a brisk pace. Pleased to recommend The Present, but must point out it's not for the faint hearted!
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Happy Holidays!

The central premise of this one is great. A serial killer who utilises a popular Christmas song to unleash hell on his victims, ruining lives year after year. Anna, a plucky journalist, is enlisted to help stop him after 

Rating this one 3.5 out of 5 for Goodreads, as the ending was a bit of a disappointment. The ramping up of the twelve days of Christmas was impressive, with Santa's house of horrors leaving me flying through the pages, but it felt like there was something missing towards the end. 

The ending felt a little too focused on the identity of Santa rather than on stopping him, on the killer rather than his innocent victim. There was even a mention of the killer as a "victim" - despite the fact that he murdered multiple people over many years in extremely violent ways.

Anna's happy ending at the end of the novel was a great touch, making this novel's Christmas notes more than simply the violence of a creepy Santa. 

Thank you to NetGalley, HarperCollins and D S Devlin for the opportunity to read The Present.
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The Present is a fast-paced thriller following investigative journalist Anna as she tries to identify the serial killer nicknamed “Santa” who has managed to evade capture by CID for 12 straight years. 

Anna is relentless and will do anything to get the real story. In her last high profile story, she solved a case that CID had failed to and made enemies with them in the process. But when a whistleblower within CID gives her the scoop on the latest developments within the “Santa” case, Anna goes on the attack, determined to show everyone the inadequacies and failures of the CID. Anna is astonished to find that she’s actually been set up and has been secretly drafted in to assist CID with their investigation. 

Miles is Anna’s quirky friend; a former investigative journalist who gave up his career when an investigation took him too far into the criminal underworld and caused a mental breakdown. Miles hasn’t told Anna or anyone else what happened to him and is now an almost recluse who struggles to sleep or socialise with friends and work colleagues. He lives alone in a house left to him by his mum who died years before. 

Anna turns to Miles to see if he has any names or suspects from his years dealing with criminals and finds that he’s kept files upon files of information, police reports, statements and notes that he dubs the “Miles Files”. 

Anna works with Miles and CID to try and uncover links to the “Santa” killer before it’s too late. In a race against the clock, she has 12 days to save Santa’s latest victim. 

The Present is an easy read; some of the clues and links were a little weak and too easily reaolved. There’s no real mystery in this book. While the crimes are horrific and brutal, there’s not much to really pull the reader in and have them fully absorbed. The suspects in this book are few and really there are only 3 main characters in the story which makes it easy for the reader to decide who the culprit is. While there was a twist in the book, I think it was fairly obvious given the few characters within the book and plenty of readers would have figured this out before the climactic ending. 

The Present was an enjoyable, easy read without the complexity and twists and turns of some of the more popular mystery/thrillers out there these days, but will still keep you questioning and guessing until the end. 

Thanks to D S Devlin, NetGalley and the publisher for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
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I’ll admit, the whole concept of the ‘Santa Killer’ was a little bit cheesy. But it does tie in nicely with the theme of the 12 days of Christmas and it does become apparent later in the book why the Santa Killer chooses to abduct and kill his victims around the Christmas period each year. 

I thought the concept of the countdown and the delivering of presents coinciding with the 12 days of Christmas was a clever concept. There were plenty of red herrings in this book that kept me guessing all the way to the end. Just when I would think I had it figured out who the killer was another curve ball would be thrown in. I can honestly say I didn’t see the twist at the end coming! 

I read this book in two sittings as I was completely hooked by the twists and turns the storyline took. The pace of the book moved well with more clues and presents being delivered to Anna. 

Overall, in my opinion this is a brilliant crime thriller/murder mystery read. It was well written with good twists and one I would recommend to anyone who likes this genre. The only downside is I now have the 12 days of Christmas song stuck in my head and it’s only August!
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A well written crime thriller. Plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing and changing your mind as to who the Santa Killer is.

I found it really well thought through and gripping, quite gruesome in parts and scary - be warned.
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Great book, very well written and kept me gripped the whole way through.  One very big rollarcoaster ride and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
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Lots of twists and turns makes this a page turner. Kept my attention until the end.

Thank you to NetGalley and to the publisher for the opportunity to read this.
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Took me a while to get into this book, I tried to read it four times and kept putting it down because it didn’t enthrall me enough to keep going. However, fourth time lucky and I am glad I kept going with it. The story is good and the twists and turns are never expected or obvious to the reader. I was very impressed with this book once I decided to finish it and I will be looking for other titles by this author.
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Who is the Santa Killer who has been taunting the police for years. Anna a journalist somehow ends up getting a gift and works with the police to solve the crime. What I liked was the pace of the story and the way it was written, quite a bit of drama
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Creepy and twisty read. 

You think you have guessed the plot when it takes another twist. Think you know whats coming? Think again
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Well that what was it said on the tin I’m so creeped out right now lol.....
I started with the lovely romance book and then my eyes fell upon this bad boy I couldn’t put it down it was very unnerving and I loved it it 10/10
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This is a  bleak psychological thriller and I was entertained enormously by reading it.

It is filled with twists and I loved the plot line. Journalist Anna Vaughan has been following a serial killer, who who sends his victims gruesome presents based on the twelve days of Christmas. just before he kills them

It is a gory read but I was kept guessing as to who the killer was and it was quite a scare. 

good story with a fabulous ending
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Thank you Netgalley and the Publisher.  I actually read this book over the Xmas period and I am glad I did as it was a topical theme.  A good read
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I found the plot a little predictable. A quick and easy read but nothing special.
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A very dark story about the twelve days of Christmas. A killer called Santa has been killing for years. This is his twelfth Christmas. He needs to be stopped. A fast read with a surprising ending.
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I'm always interested in darker stories about Christmas and this was a very different take on the 12 days of Christmas. The opening grips you and pulls you into the story straight away which only made me more eager to continue with the book. I'd been hoping for a more complex plot with possible suspects but i didn't get that here which was disappointing as i figured out the killer quickly.
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