Cover Image: Survivor’s Guilt

Survivor’s Guilt

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If you have read book seven in this series, Time Is Running Out, then you will know what a completely shocking, tense, pulse-pounding and game changing read it was. I think I was left shell shocked. Still am a touch to be honest. And with that in mind I'd say that if you haven't read it, don't read this book. Not yet. It is one very much rooted in the after effects of that very disturbing set of events and as such is better read not as an introduction to the series but as a continuation. And it is a continuation, seeing perhaps not a closure of that storyline, or even one other very key part of Matilda's backstory, but certainly a very big change, one that will potentially leave readers both delighted and perhaps just a touch maudlin. And I mean that in a good way, if that's possible.

This was always going to be a tough story to handle, for readers just as much as the characters. The title sums things up perfectly and the preceding events have taken their toll, physically and emotionally, something which the author has explored very carefully in this book. They don't take over, don't entirely dominate, but it is impossible to ignore the impact that the progression of the story has on the characters and subsequent events. There is a melancholic and reflective undertone to the story, perhaps some challenge to the previous unity of this wonderful team, and understandably so. It adds a kind of conflict and tension to an already on edge team and loyalties are well and truly tested.  It's almost impossible as a fan of the series not to be affected by what happens, but if you think this is going to be a 'safe' story, you really don't know this author. Seems he has a really sadistic streak when it comes to his characters because he's really not finished with them yet.

Aside from the obvious emotional side to the tale there are two threads to this story. First up is the ongoing story of Carl Meagan, the case which has haunted Matilda Darke throughout the course of this series. One of the great regrets of her career, and one which she has always sought to put right. This is another layer of distraction and guilt to add to Matilda's ever growing burden but something that informs the character she has become. Alongside of this is the team's investigation into a series of murders of sex workers. Although not initially linked, Matilda is convinced they are the work of one person and vows to get to the truth. Rather a large and high profile case for her first one back in the hot seat and one which really does keep the tension and the tempo of the book high. Surprises, jaw dropping revelations and moments of real peril are littered throughout, scenes that get the heart rate rising in the way that Michael Wood excels in. 

The conclusion to this particular case  -  well got to admit I did not see that one coming. At all. I'm still not sure what I think. Shock I suppose. The author kept that well hidden. And as for the books ending ... Gah. So much threat, so much uncertainty and such unease left by a seemingly very simple and, compared to the rest of the book, seemingly innocent interaction. It brought out the dread but also the intrigue and a little bit of excitement. This book could easily have signified an end, of sorts. I'm hoping the conclusion means that the story of Matilda Darke and her team is far from over.

Tense, emotional, and completely compelling. If you love the series, you will really want to read this. With a box of tissues to hand maybe. And some comfort food. Recommended.
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I wasn't aware of Michael Wood's work before this novel. I most certainly am now.
I love a good police procedural thriller and this has all the right ingredients, with the usual twists and turns and at an exciting pace.
Throw in an excellent, if somewhat damaged, CIO and you have the makings of an allnighter.
Will certainly look for others from this author and will recommend.
Many thanks.
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Having just finished Time is Running Out, the 7th in this series, and being absolutely blown away by it, I couldn't wait to get my grubby little mitts on this, the 8th in the brilliant Matilda Darke series and I wasn't disappointed in the slightest.  What I will say is that I think it would be preferable to have read the 7th book before reading this one as this one picks the story up 9 months later and will provide an explanation as to why Matilda and other characters are acting as they are.

This book follows 3 themes; the aftermath of the massacre that occurred in the previous book, the murder of prostitutes in Sheffield and the long-running theme of the kidnapping of Carl Meagan.  

Once again, Michael writes a gripping story that moves at pace.  There is violence and edge-of-the-seat moments; I took at sharp intake of breath when the murderer was revealed - I am usually quite good at figuring out who it is but this one absolutely blind-sided me and I actually gasped and said a few choice words that are not repeatable here as I try to avoid profanity in my reviews!

There is also compassion and tenderness and an authentic-feeling description of how grief and tragedy can affect people differently; it can bring you together or completely tear you apart and destroy you and those around you.  Everyone is struggling to manage their grief but can they work together to catch the killer or are they too broken?

The characters are just brilliant and I particularly liked how Michael portrayed the prostitutes as "people" rather than the usual stereotypes which made a nice change; I absolutely loved Bev and Sarah.  Matilda is, I admit, a difficult person to like in this book but given what she has endured, she is forgiven ... just this once!

Full of tension, suspense and emotion, this book and the series, is one that shouldn't be missed ... roll on number 9!

I am grateful to HarperCollins UK / One More Chapter via NetGalley for my copy in return for an honest, unbiased and unedited review.
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This series is one of the best in contemporary crime fiction.  Great plots, excellent characters and superb plot lines.  I thought Michael Wood would find it difficult to match the drama of his previous Matilda Darke novel but this is just as gripping but with a slightly lower body count!  As Matilda continues to recover from THAT shooting, she finds it difficult to give herself over fully to her work and relations with colleagues are stretched to the limit.  And the denouement....!
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Although I hadn't read any books in this series it was easy to pick up and I really enjoyed it.   This was a real page turner and a book that I needed to complete in one session which I did. Off to read more in the series now

I was given an advance copy by netgalley and the publishers but the review is entirely my own.
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Michael Wood you have outdone yourself once again in this beyond excellent DCI Matilda Darke Series.

Book 7 took my breath away after a mass shooting and not knowing who on Matilda's team would survive.  Many didn't.

Its nine months later and Matilda is back working with a team that has been devastated and they are facing a serial killer.

I cried with the team, I cheered them and on  and even smiled with them at times.

It's a horrific case and the tension can be felt at team briefings and beyond.

The ending is jaw dropping and one I would never have seen coming.

Matilda is back !  

I can't wait for book 9 in the series though I am nervous as to what Michael Wood will have Matilda and her team face next.

Don't miss this series; not one book of it !  

Thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins UK, One More Chapter, One More Chapter for a heart pounding roller coaster of a read.
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Although technically this book could be read on its own I would advise readers new to this author to read the series in order.
I love a book with a great twist at the end and really enjoy trying to work out what it will be. But I defy anyone to guess the ending here. I couldn't have been more shocked if it had been Matilda herself who was killing the prostitutes..I will be waiting with baited breath for Michael Wood's next book.
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Gripping, breathtaking, brilliant !!. I thoroughly enjoyed this book which was up to Michael Wood's excellent standard. His ability as a wordsmith gives his characters depth and makes the story-line totally absorbing.
I love Michael Wood's work and am eagerly awaiting his next book.
Thank you Netgalley and Harper Collins UK for giving me the chance to read and review this book.
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The latest in the Matilda Darke series set in Sheffield. These books have been an addictive series of fast paced detective stories and I couldn’t wait for the next instalment yet I have struggled through this one. I hesitate to say anything negative, being so invested in the characters but on this occasion there was SO MUCH back story relative to the plot itself - I’d humbly suggest the balance is wrong for readers who know so much of this already and I doubt many if any would start with this book.

Anyway, Matilda is suffering the after effects of having the back of her head blown off and a serial killer of prostitutes is on the loose. The revelation of who this is plus the toings and froings of young Carl and his family make for an enjoyable development in the lives of the surviving characters we have come to know but normally I finish these books in 48 hours max and that wasn’t the case this time round.

Thanks to NetGalley for a free copy in exchange for a fair review
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This is the 8th instalment of DCI Matilda Darke series.  It’s nearly a year since the devastating event that killed servers of her team and close friends.  Darke is returning back to duties as the long on going Carl Meghan case comes to an end and a woman is found killed which resembles several cold cases.  Her team have doubts she is for for duty and she’s goes off on a tangent with selected team members.
An amazing read, full of emotions for all the characters.  This can be read out of order but would be beneficial to have the full background story.  It was hard to see how Darke could return, but she has with bells on.  Can’t wait for the next book.
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It's good to see the return of most of this well established cast of characters following the traumatic conclusion of the last book. Unfortunately this instalment turns out to be just as traumatic but for very different reasons. This must be the most unlucky police team in British crime fiction today
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The previous book to Survivor’s Guilt literally took my breath away. There was so much that happened in that book which meant I have been eagerly awaiting this one and it didn’t disappoint!

You definitely need to have read Time Is Running Out, the seventh book in the series before embarking on this one, the eighth book. Nine months have passed since previous events left Matilda’s team having to come to terms with the huge impact that has affected them all. It was heart breaking to see how the characters were trying to carry on with their lives with some coping better than others. Matilda has only recently returned and there is a serial killer on the lose.

There is a lot of tension within the team and friendships and working relationships are extremely fraught. It is understandable how most of the characters are feeling and I wondered at times if there was any way forward for them all. Along with the serial killer thread, there is also the thread to do with an earlier case of Matilda’s of which if you are a fan of this series, this is another must read as it’s something I have been very invested in throughout these books and I am sure many other readers have been also.

Survivor’s Guilt was an impressive follow on that made for both an emotional and shocking read. It was brilliant! At one part I was in tears and another I had to pick my jaw up off of the floor as I was so gobsmacked by an unexpected twist. It was so good that I had to go back and re read it as I just couldn’t comprehend what I had just read. I am literally still in shock now! Michael Wood is an author who just delivers every time with each book. It’s like I’m a literary junkie and the author is my dealer who manages to fix my cravings with each of his books. Loved it!
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I want to start by thanking NetGalley and the publisher Harper Collins for my eARC in exchange for my honest review.  How much pain can a person take?  Matilda Darke has seen more then her share, and when the emotion of it all begins to take a tole it effects everything.  Michael Wood has penned a very emotion filled mystery which yet agains calls on every character to draw on questionable strengths.  Pain changes people, and with mounting deaths, can anyone survive?
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DCI Matilda Darke is back to work after the horrific events from 12 months previous. The events have left their mark on the team and no one is the same as they were. 
Now a killer is murdering prostitutes and can the team work together or are they too broken and emotional to work together? 
Michael is the master of giving the reader a WTF moment when you scream at your kindle in shock and disbelief and your husband and child think that something is wrong! 
Thank you to netgalley and the publishers for this arc in exchange for my honest review.
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Woohoo Michael Woods is back with the eighth book in the DCI Maltilda Darke series. I wasn’t sure how Michael Woods could top Time Is Running Out (the seventh book) my favourite book in this series so far! But he has! Survivor’s Guilt is yet another binge worthy addition to this stellar series. So buckle up for a bumpy ride, as the author takes you on a rollercoaster with highs, lows, twist and turns galore.  

Survivor’s Guilt begins 9 months after the brutal attack that left Matilda in a coma, an attack that also resulted in the deaths of several of her close friends and colleagues. Matilda is back at work alongside her depleted team investigating the murders of prostitutes. It soon becomes apparent that there is a serial killer is on the loose on the streets of Sheffield.

The strength of this series is the characters. As a huge fan, I’ve watched Matilda and her team develop and grow into living characters. Matilda and her team’s grief is palatable as they try to make sense of what’s happened and come to terms with their losses. This book sees a shift in the team's dynamics, which is hardly surprising considering all they’ve been through, but there’s disharmony, and the divide grows between the team as Matilda’s ability to lead comes under question. It’s an emotional read in parts as we see how different members of the team struggle with the complexities of ‘survivor’s guilt’, as well as how it affects their relationships with other members of this once close team. 

It’s great the author ‘humanised’ the prostitutes, they’re not just ‘victims’. He gives each one a backstory. This series goes from strength to strength. It’s one that hasn’t lost its momentum, unlike some crime series I have given up on way before this point! Michael Wood always delivers at least one ‘OMFG I never seen that coming moment’, it’s a shocker, but cleverly executed! The tension is palatable as the plot reaches its nail biting conclusion. Survivor’s Guilt is hard-hitting, with a compelling plot, it’s superbly written and one not to be missed. A MUST READ for crime fans.
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462 pages

3 stars

DCI Matilda Darke has returned to work following a nine month medical leave. After being shot, she had to learn to walk and talk once again. She lost several friends and colleagues when she was shot. She suffers from self-doubt and terrible nightmares. She is still feeling devastated, as is the balance of her team. Only one of the deceased officers has been replaced. 

The surviving officers are also having trouble with the situation. The once tight team seems to be falling apart.

Her new case is one of a murdered woman whose death closely resembles several cold cases from Matilda’s past. Before long, the case blows up to be the biggest case the team has ever handled. Matilda begins to act erratically. Her subordinates agonize over whether to go to the higher ups to discuss the problem the whole team is having with her. 

What I did like about the book is that it gives a picture of both the hardships and the resilience of street prostitutes. Meeting Bev and Sarah was a treat. They are indeed remarkable women. 

The identity of the killer came as a complete shock. 

While I did finish this book, I remain disturbed by it. Matilda’s behavior was abominable. She snapped and snarled at her subordinates and these are all older members of her team and her friends. Was she so selfish that she failed to acknowledge their pain at losing loved ones in the attack of nine months earlier? While I understand her trauma, I am astounded at how insensitive she acted. And please Mr. Wood, could we dispense with all the door slamming? I think this signals a parting of the ways for Matilda and me. 

Another good thing is that Matilda seemed to finally snap out of the blues at the end of the book. 

I want to thank NetGalley and Harper Collins UK/One More Chapter for forwarding to me a copy of this book for me to read, enjoy and review. The opinions expressed here are solely my own.
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Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher and author for this ARC.  

After the roller coaster read of Time is Running Out I wondered how this series would carry on.  It begins 9 months afterwards and DCI Darke has returned to work.    This is the first book so far where I didn’t much like her character, or her attitude sometimes towards her team which leads them to question her fitness and ability to do her job properly.    I really liked DI Brady though, and as a side character he is really growing on me.  The team investigate the murder of a woman who has similar injuries to victims from old cases and they realise there may be a serial killer on their patch.   I thought this book was very well written, it was fast paced and thrilling and one where the author has captured his characters feelings, thoughts and emotions whilst grieving very eloquently, realistically and believably.  And I loved that an ongoing story thread is reintroduced again here.   Parts of this book were very poignant and sad to read and when I read who the murderer was - what a shock !!    I don’t think I would have ever have guessed that correctly!     Overall, wow what a fab read.  One that didn’t disappoint and I very much look forward to the next book.
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Survivor’s Guilt by Michael Wood is an outstanding book, when I read the previous DCI Matilda Darke book Time is Running Out  I didn’t think that could be surpassed, but book 8 is carrying on in the Michael Wood tradition of improving the taut storytelling with each book. The storyline is superb following on from the death and injuries to the murder team in his previous book, Matilda Darke and her reduced team have to hunt for a serial killer and a kidnapped child returns home.
An outstanding achievement.
Highly recommended
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To grasp the intensity and sense of bereavement and grief that DCI Matilda Darke and her fellow detectives are experiencing in Survivor’s Guilt, one really needs to go back seven books to the beginning of the series to For Reasons Unknown. Get to know Matilda and her team. Know their history together, what binds them together, what haunts them, and what drives them.

In book number eight, Matilda returns after a nine-month hiatus to recover from a tragic event, which left her seriously injured and several of her team and close friends injured, bereaved, or dead. Is she ready? Only returning to the job and diving in will tell whether or not she is up to snuff. 

The challenges begin immediately. First, a blast from the past. There’s a major break in the Carl Meagan case. This was a kidnapping case with a botched ransom exchange that has haunted Matilda for years. Is it possible that he has been found alive and safe?

Of more immediate concern is the death of a woman...and another...and another. Soon, the police are looking at cold cases and facing accusations from the press that they’ve bungled another job – a possible serial killer who targets prostitutes. As external pressure builds on Matilda to find the murderer, for the first time, her team members begin questioning whether she is up to the task. In addition, her personal relationships have taken a hit as a result of the losses everyone has experienced, and Matilda struggles to maintain her own balance between her professional life and her mental/emotional well being.

Once again, Michael Wood has done a marvelous job portraying the interpersonal relationships between the characters – not just the detectives on Matilda’s team, but also the women on the street, whom he portrays as real people, not stereotypes. Each woman has her own story, and he makes sure to create relationships between them and the police. We also meet Harriet, Matilda’s sister. I liked the way their relationship is portrayed as evolving, as, it appears, is the relationship between Matilda and her mother. One of other central characters in the book is Scott, a fellow investigator who also happens to rent space from Matilda. They have developed a closer relationship through the events of the past nine months. Misery loves company, and they are learning to find ways to support one another. Now, if only each can follow his/her own advice!

I have mixed feelings about the Carl Meagan arc. I’m leaning toward wanting to see that resolved for good, but that seems to be left open for now. I had no idea who the murderer would turn out to be – it turned out to be quite a shock! There seems to be enough here for at least another book, and fans of Mr. Wood know that he is sure to come up with some “killer” ideas.

I wish to thank NetGalley, HarperCollins UK, and the author for providing me with an advance copy of Survivor’s Guilt in return for my unbiased review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

4 stars
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After losing several colleagues and friends to a maniac, and mental as well as physical rehabilitation Matilda Darke is back at work. She is not her old self, and her colleagues knows it. A lot has changed in her life, and at work. 

Prostitutes have been murdered one in awhile over some years, and suddenly the killer seems to be on a killing spree. Matilda takes on these cases at the same time as the old case of the old missing child case ends, when Carl is returning back to his biological parents. 

There is a lot going on in this book. It starts off with a slower pace, in the aftermath of the tragedy that the whole police force suffers from. There is a lot of reflecting, and getting used to the new situation. Some have not gotten over the tragedy at all. Others are struggling hard. 

The pace changes when the killing spree starts. There are many things going on simultaneously, and it gets darker and darker. The ending took me by surprise. I can honestly say I could not have guessed the culprit, but he seemed to take everyone by surprise. The last page made me want to Sheffield, to knock on Michael Wood's door, and politely make him write the next book immediately! 

This series has become one of my all time favourites. The way Wood writes is different and great in every possible way. I can't drop the book for even a second. I simply have to finish it as soon as possible. Not only is the writing great, but the suspense is literally killing me, and the storytelling is superb! We want more!
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