The Quiet Dead

A thrilling, twisty, addictive crime thriller

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Pub Date 7 Sep 2023 | Archive Date 18 Aug 2023

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Fifteen years ago, he confessed to the murder of his wife and children.

As a teenager, Hayley DaSilva walked into a nightmare; discovering the bodies of her mother, twin brother, and friend all brutally slaughtered in her home… and her nine-year-old brother missing. Her father, Leonard DaSilva, confessed to the murders, but Ethan was never seen again.

He lied. But why?

Now, Hayley has fled her dreadful past in Thamespark - until the call from Detective Sebastian Locke. Little bones uncovered in a shallow grave belong to Ethan… and the investigation reveals holes in the case that prove Leonard’s confession was false. He didn’t kill his family. So why did he say he did?

As DI Locke and the squad realise that a killer has been hiding in plain sight in the sleepy commuter town of Thamespark, the previously cold case becomes an urgent investigation. But as the squad gets closer to the truth of who really murdered the DaSilvas, it becomes clear that the culprit won’t hesitate to spill blood to keep their shocking secrets hidden…

An absolutely unputdownable police procedural with a shocking twist, introducing Detective Sebastian Locke. Fans of Karin Slaughter, Cara Hunter and Sharon Bolton will love this.

'A fabulous introduction to DI Sebastian Locke...a new hero (and fictional crush!) is born. A cast of liars and cheats makes for a thrilling and tantalising tale. My heart broke with Ethan’s story and those little bones.' Sam Holland

‘A perfect blend of mystery and psychological thriller…Dramatically and emotionally stirring, the unearthing of buried trauma is so deftly handled whilst also providing edge-of-your-seat thrills.’ Dominic Nolan

Praise for NJ Mackay:

‘Cracking thriller and a great female protagonist.’ C.J. Tudor

‘I couldn’t put it down… a must read… Niki is brilliant and talented.’ Phoebe Morgan

‘A cracking read’ Harriet Tyce

‘Grips you from the first line through to the nail-biting conclusion.’ Victoria Selman

‘So well plotted that you’ll find yourself staying up reading half the night.’ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Reader Review

‘Really brilliant read. Got straight into it from the first page - really kept you guessing right till the end.’ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Reader Review

‘Brilliant book. Didn’t want to read it all in one go as I was enjoying it so much.’ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Reader Review

‘Couldn’t put it down, such a good plot and the ending was totally mindblowing.’ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Reader Review

Fifteen years ago, he confessed to the murder of his wife and children.

As a teenager, Hayley DaSilva walked into a nightmare; discovering the bodies of her mother, twin brother, and friend all...

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ISBN 9781804364932
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Featured Reviews

Detective Sebastian Locke is a young detective chosen to head a cold case when the bones of a young boy are found. The boys mother and brother were brutally slaughtered 15 years before and the boy disappeared without a trace. His father, Leonard was arrested for the murders, and confessed.
His sister, Hayley changed her name and emigrated to America.

Can Sebastian prove himself by solving the killing of the youngest child?

A terrific police procedural. Crimes that are solved by the right questions and speaking to the right people.
I found the beginning a bit slow, but as the book progressed became more and more immersed in the lives of the characters and trying to guess the killer.
Needless to say, everyone I suspected was not the killer!

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

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A trophy wife to her affluent American husband Sean, British transplant Hayley Marriott is living the life of her dreams in America. And if she is not entirely satisfied with her life of leisure, and the fact that her husband has a roving eye, at least it is better than the nightmare of her previous life as Hayley DaSilva. A life that her husband knows nothing about.

Fifteen years ago, teenage Hayley walked into her family home after a night out, only to find her mother, twin brother Matt and his friend Ryan brutally murdered in their home. Her little brother Ethan was nowhere to be found - declared missing, presumed dead.

Hayley's estranged father Leonard was convicted of the killings. As the sole survivor of the massacre, Hayley was desperate to start a new life, which led her to the other side of the Atlantic.

But now, well over a decade later, Ethan's remains have been found, and there is reason to believe that Leonard DaSilva may not have committed the crimes. So why did he confess to them? And who then is responsible for the deaths of four people? And does that mean that the killer has gone scot-free all these years?

Hayley returns to the UK to lay Ethan to rest, and meets DI Seb Locke - a fascinating character created to kick off this new series - who's determined to make up for past police incompetence, get to the bottom of things, and deliver justice for the DaSilva family...

A terrific read, engrossing and peopled with relatable characters from Hayley and Leonard, to Locke and his sidekick Lucy. Enjoy!

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This is the first novel I've read by the author and I will definitely be exploring her back catalogue after this.
15 years ago Leonard DaSilva confessed to the murders of his wife, sons and his son's friend at their home in Thamespark. The body of his son Ethan was never found. Now, DI Sebastian Locke has reopened the investigation after Ethan's remains are discovered in a shallow grave. Leonard's surviving child Hayley who discovered the bodies of her family 15 years ago returns to Thamespark to find that Locke now believes that her father's confession was false. So who did murder the DaSilva family?

This is an excellent combination of police procedural and psychological thriller and hopefully what will be the first in a series featuring DI Locke. I love a good police procedural and this is an excellently plotted and well paced example. I really enjoy investigations into historical crimes and the author skilfully reveals secrets from the past. There's great characterisation and I loved the character of Locke, he's a young police officer with a complex history and I feel that the author dealt with this sensitively and believably. I liked his colleague Lucy and the relationship between them. The dual narrative worked well and this made it into more than just a police procedural.

A gripping, compelling and well written novel that I would recommend.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this digital ARC.

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A slow burner. Good story and a different writing style than I'm used to. But I did enjoy the story will look out for this author again

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Riveting. At first, I thought the switch up of first person vs. second between a few characters would be a terrible mix, but it actually made the book more enjoyable. Plot was well written and characters were relatable. It’s rare that I cannot figure out an ending ahead of time, and this was that case.

One area I thought was odd was a character being presented a couple times….then gone until the end. I kept wondering if that character’s plot would ever be finished or touched on again. Otherwise, it was a great read that near the end, I had to tear myself away from to go to bed.

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I liked this a lot. Lots of twists and unexpected details, with some horribly unlikeable characters! The main detective DI Sebastian Locke is very likeable, as he mixes being a detective with being a dad to a teenage daughter helped by his mother in law. I liked that aspect of the book too. I hope he will go on to star in more books as I think he has an interesting story to tell.

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This is a good start to a new series, featuring DI Seb Locke. The characterisation is really good and believable, although the book starts off at a very slow pace. The plot concept was interesting, a man locked up for murdering his family 15 years ago and there were plenty of twists and turns throughout. The book is well written and flows nicely, right to the last page. I definitely recommend the read and look forward to the next installment. Thanks to Net Galley for my ARC.

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The Quite Dead by @nikimackaywriter is a fantastic 5 ⭐ read..

Fifteen years ago Leonard DaSilva confessed to killing his wife and sons leaving his only surviving child his daughter Hayley devastated. but Leonard lied and now DI Sebastian Locke is reopening the case and the hunt is on to find the real killer before its too late..

I absolutely loved The Quite Dead from start to finish, I thought the story was brilliant I loved the character of DI Seb Locke I liked his family dynamic consisting of Seb his daughter Tilly and his mother in-law, it was refreshing to read about a single father who's working a demanding job along with the responsibilities of raising a teenage daughter also I liked the relationship he has with his mother in-law and I'm looking forward to reading more about the trio and how their family develops.

and of course there's Seb's wife & Tilly's mum Charile who's not in the picture at the moment but there's huge potential for a great story if and when that happens, I loved this story it was believable and I liked the character of Hayley DaSilva I enjoyed her journey I really did feel her emotions I literally had goosebumps when Hayley was talking I felt her pain of losing her family and of her letting her dad back in her life it got to the point where I couldn't put the book down, as the story was progressing with a mix of suspicious suspects each with a motive and secret I didn't have a clue who did it and I was shocked when the truth came out.

I loved the ending it was a perfect fit for the story and Hayley DaSilva, this is another brilliant book by Niki Mackay I love her style of writing and how she writes each character you can see the passion she has for each character she writes for and in yet to read a book by Niki Mackay that I don't like and I very much doubt that will happen. I highly recommend this book its utterly brilliant and totally unputdownable..

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Thanks to netgalley and canelo for this arc. I most definately got into this book..
Three children and a mother wiped out, the husband in prison for their murders. But did he do it? Hayleys little brother ethans body was never found.. DI sebastian loch and his new dc lucy quinn are tasked with re investigating the murders as in the original case corners were most definately cut. Will seb and lucy get justice for ethan and his family?? And how are hayleys childood friends involved?? Great police procedural, i hope there will be more to come in this series. I read this quite quickly as i became engrossed in the characters and the storyline. More please nj mackay

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This is the first book I have read by this author, having received an ARC from Netgalley.

I was completely hooked from the start and loved the characters and storyline. It was well paced and kept me wanting to read on to find out what was coming next.

Can't wait to read more from this author and especially DI Locke.

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Fifteen year old Hayley DaSilva came home from a party to find her mother, twin brother, and his friend brutally murdered.
Sixteen years later, Hayley, now married and living in America, receives a phone call. Her younger brother's bones have been found, casting doubt over her father, Leonard's confession that he killed the family.
This is a new detective series featuring DI Seb Locke. I liked him as he was a relatable character. Bringing up a teenage daughter Tilly with the help of his mother-in-law.
We find out more about the family dynamics and what happened to Tilly's mother. I'm sure there will be much more revealed in book 2.
This is Locke's first case in charge. He's capable and hands on, this is reflected by the way his team work with him.
I thought Jackie, his boss, a very feisty character. Think 'bark worse than their bite'. I am already looking forward to reading the next one.
With thanks to Netgalley and Hera Books for the ARC in return for an honest review.

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What would you do if you came home from a party to find your mother and twin murdered, your baby brother is missing and the cops get a confession from your dad? You would move away and start over, right? Until 15 years later they find your baby brother and your dads confession is no longer making sense. Is he really the killer? The twists and turns make up for the slow start and I can’t wait to see more of Detective Locke

Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for a honest review.

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I really enjoyed this book! The characters were well developed and the story was engaging. I recommend that others try this book as well. Well done!

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The first book I've read by this author and it's a great one! The start might be a bit slower, but once you've gone through that, you're drawn more and more into the story and the characters.

15 years ago something awful happened, a family killed, a son missing, the daughter found them and the father was the killer. That's the start of the book. But now, the body of the missing brother is found and the confession of the father starts to fall apart. What if he didn't kill his family? What if the killer is still out there, after 15 years?

It started out a bit slow but once the story really started, it was a terrific read. The story itself is quite interesting and compelling. The characters were likeable and relatable which is great for a book.


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The Quiet Dead by N.J. Mackay is a good police procedural that kept me guessing.

I really liked Seb and Lucy and how they worked together and their banter and interactions. I did feel some empathy for Leonard and how he tried to protect his daughter. I also liked Tilly, Val, and Faye; they were nice character additions to the story.

Hayley DaSilva makes a new life for herself in the United States after her twin brother, mother, and her brother's friend are brutally murdered. Her younger brother, Ethan, went missing and was never found. Hayley fled her dreadful past in Thamespark until the call from Detective Sebastian Locke. Little bones uncovered in a shallow grave belong to Ethan, and the investigation reveals holes in the case that prove Leonard’s confession was false.

This was an intriguing and hard-to-put-down police procedural. I liked getting to know these new characters, and I liked the author's writing style; the scenes flowed nicely, and the characters were interesting and all different.

Lots of secrets, lies, and feelings that are hard to control and make the characters vulnerable. A good introduction to this author. I would read more by this author and hope to see more of DI Locke and his family and colleagues.

#TheQuietDead #NetGalley @HeraBooks

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What a breath of fresh air! The premise is original, the characters are well written.... even if they're not always likeable but I loved that it's so much more than just a police procedural and we get to also see the private life and complications of the main character. There's also plenty twists and turns and I couldnt wait to see how it wad all going to play out. A really amazing and unique story

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Good book! This book had a bit of everything! It had suspense, Action, intrigue, mystery, revenge, murder, great who done it, great plot twist, and some crazy twists and turns! The storyline was very interesting and kept me glued to my Kindle! I definitely recommend reading this book as it was well worth reading! Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for sharing this book with me

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This is the first book I have read from this author but won't be my last. Good twists and turns. I love a good detective series and this fits the bill.

Interesting from the very beginning. I think it is a great first book of the series. Kept me interested and wanting more throughout!!

Thank you to Netgalley and Hera Books for the ARC!!

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This was a good read. It started out strong and the investigation started almost immediately. As the story progressed, I became more and more intrigued and could not put it down. I felt like a real detective trying to solve this 15-year-old case alongside DI Locke and Detective Lucy- I was pulled in and captivated. This was so much more than innocent man wrongly convicted but also highlights police corruption, drug abuse amongst teens and adults, broken homes, greed, jealousy, alcohol abuse and so many other details that really ties the story together brilliantly. As we get deeper and deeper into this read things really become captivating and as we get closer to revealing who the real killer is I found myself incapable of being able to put this book down. Sadly, this is where things started to go downhill for me. When the main female character (Hayley) realizes who killed her family and after failing to get in touch with the two leading detectives, proceeds to face the killer and confront them on her own that seemed highly illogical to me. Especially considering that we know this person is the killer of 3 people. That never makes sense to me when authors do that. Another flaw for me was the ending. After such an in-depth storyline I expected an epic ending, and I didn't get that. Instead, I got a constant back and forth of confessions from different POVs and a weird scuffle and then bam it's over. Extremely underwhelming for me.
With that being said I would still recommend this book and say it was a good read despite its little flaws.
Thank you to Netgalley and Publishers for my eARC copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

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Excellent, really enjoyed this book. Hailey has rebuilt her life after the most horrific loss happened to her and she lost her family in a terrible crime. Now, questions are popping up about how and why they died and if it was all as clean cut as the police made out. A great character in the lead detective and really good tea, around him helping solve the case. Very well written, some excellent twists and had me gripped to the every end. Sooo good!!!!

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Thank you NetGalley for giving me the chance to read this book ahead of time in exchange for a review. It didn't disappoint! Must read!!

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The beginning of this book started at a leisurely pace, gradually weaving its way into a series of unexpected shifts and winding paths.
The characters found their way into my affections, and I'm eagerly anticipating any forthcoming instalments that showcase the endeavours of DI Locke. His resolute determination and meticulous thoroughness infused the narrative with a relentless energy that reverberated throughout. Recommended!

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I’m addicted already and very thankful that this is the first in a new series! I loved discovering Detective Sebastian Locke and Lucy, his partner in the investigation team.

Hayley DaSilva, a central character in this book, is scripted carefully and reflected well a person who had buried her traumas in order to survive. Seeing her rediscover who she was originally, was brilliantly and slowly revealed within the plot.

The dynamics between all the characters in this book worked so well, I felt I was standing there watching it all unfold.

This was never going to be an easy case for Seb and Lucy to solve, the ‘killer’ having confessed and been in prison for 15 years already. The grief behind this is quite palpable for the reader and the unknown threads kept me racing through the book, keen to see who really killed the DaSilva family.

A great read!

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This is so incredibly well written. I loved the opening pages and the cop's perspective. It was a hard read for me because I have worked for the police department and because I have my own trauma. But I still enjoyed it. I am so hoping I get approved for the audiobook. I want to try it that way too.

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DI Sebastian Locke #1

Fifteen years ago, he confessed to the murder of his wife and children. As a teenager Haley DaSilva walked int a nightmare; discovering the bodies of her mother, twin brother and friend all brutally slaughtered in her home.... and her nine-year-old brother missing. Her father, Leonard DaSilva, confessed to the murders, but Eathan was never seen again, He lied, but why? Now, Haley has fled her dreadful past in Thamespark - until the call DI Sebastian Locke. Little bones uncovered in a shallow grave belong to Ethan.... and the investigation reveals holes in the case that proves Leonard's confession was false. He didn't kill his family. So why did he say he did?

I would like to thank #NetGalley #HeraBooks and the author #NJMcKay for my ARC of #TheQuietDead in exchange for an honest review.

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As a teen Hayley DaSilva was a bit of a wild child! She came home from a party in a pretty wasted state but what she found soon sobered her up. Her twin & her mother had been brutally murdered & her young brother, Ethan, is missing. When her estranged father confesses to their murder, but gives no information about Ethan, Hayley wanted to get as far away as possible. However, fifteen years later, a shallow grave is found containing the bones of a young boy. Can they cold case finally be put to rest? For DI Sebastian Locke things with the confession don't add up. They need to get to the truth.

This is the first in a new series and I am already hooked. I really liked Seb & his relationship with his young teen daughter. This wasn't a particularly fast paced read, but it was an absorbing one. Thanks to Netgalley & the publisher for letting me read & review this book- I'll be eagerly awaiting the next one!

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This is the first N J Mackay book i have read and i have too say i really enjoyed this book i like sebastian locke he has a hard but sympathetic side and it shows parenthood and his striggles with balancing that and work which i think is great for a male character too have the reaponsibilities there and not let that impact work. I love tilly as well typical teenager.
The other characters in this story all have there own personalities and its so easy too relate too them.
This book is very fast paced grips you from the beginning i love the twists and turns this book gave .
willl definately keep an eye out for more sebastian locke books.

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A 15 year cold case and the new development that brings it to the front and center of the news. The Quiet Dead tells of trauma and how is changes the course of our lives, and what family is willing to do for each other.

Told from 2 POV - Hailey, the remaining member of her family after they were murdered the night of a party when she was 15, and Seb, the father of a teenager himself and detective now re-opening a cold case after new remains have been found in the woods.

There are a lot of characters in this book, and it took me a while to keep them all organized. A slower police thriller, yet it kept me engage and truly hoping for justice. And I never guessed how it would turn out!

Thank you NetGalley and Hera Books for this early release in exchange for my honest review.

Pub date: 07 Sep 2023

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This cold case thriller is unputdownable! I absolutely loved this! It keeps you on the edge of your seat! It was so good!
I just reviewed The Quiet Dead by NJ Mackay. #TheQuietDead #NetGalley
[NetGalley URL]

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An excellent police procedural that kept on the edge and turning pages very fast as I wanted to know who did and why
Dark, twisty, surprising and welll written.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher for this ARC, all opinions are mine

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Thank you NetGalley and Dreamscape Media for the book in exchange for my honest opinion. I would be willing to read a second book in this series.

This was a really enjoyable mystery, and I was unable to predict how it would turn out in the end (which is always a bonus). I did find the sheer number of characters and relationships across generations and timelines pretty difficult to follow, but it did get easier as the story moved along. Just don't quiz me on any of those names of connections now, mkay? The audio narrator is excellent, and I thought the pacing of the story was perfect!

4 stars

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This is a much more slow paced book than what I was expecting but I still enjoyed it. It's well written and the characters are well developed. Overall this was an enjoyable mystery that I enjoyed and would recommend. Special Thank You to M.J. Mackay, Hera Books, and NetGalley for allowing me to read a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

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After attending an outdoor party with her friends, teenager Hayley DaSilva arrived home to a bloodbath. Her mother, twin brother, & his friend had all been stabbed to death & her youngest brother, nine-year-old Ethan was missing. Her father, Leonard DaSilva, was arrested & imprisoned for the crime after he confessed to the murders. Hayley fled her past & moved to America. Fifteen years later, Detective Inspector Seb Locke receives a call to say that the bones of a young child have been found in a shallow grave. The bones are identified as Ethan DaSilva, & it looks as though he was killed shortly after the rest of his family. Why was he taken away & killed later though? Locke contacts Hayley DaSilva, now married & living a life of luxury, & she returns to the UK. When Locke uncovers evidence suggesting that Leonard DaSilva may be innocent, this sets off a chain of events that no-one could see coming.

The plot of this book is good, but the pace is rather slow. It's definitely more about weighing up the inconsistencies of interviews with witnesses, & looking at the holes in the previous investigation, rather than being focused on action. I liked DI Locke, he is a single father to a young teenage girl & the mother is not in the picture although her shadow casts a pall over home events at one point. Hayley is difficult to like at first as it seems she is hiding something about what happened to her family, but the reader gains sympathy for her as the story progresses. The only issue I really had, apart from the slow pace, was the shoehorning in of a couple of scenes with a female prison psychologist - as if there HAS to be some romance aspect in a book. They were so brief & there was no chemistry between the characters on the page, it felt a little out of step with the rest of the book. 3.5 stars (rounded up)

My thanks to NetGalley & publishers, Hera Books, for the opportunity to read an ARC.

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The quiet dead by NJ Makay.
A DI Sebastian Locke Mystery Book 1.
Fifteen years ago, he confessed to the murder of his wife and children. As a teenager, Hayley DaSilva walked into a nightmare; discovering the bodies of her mother, twin brother, and friend all brutally slaughtered in her home… and her nine-year-old brother missing. Her father, Leonard DaSilva, confessed to the murders, but Ethan was never seen again. He lied. But why?
I really enjoyed this book. Twisty and gripping. Can't wait for the next book. 5*.

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There are some books I wish I could give more than 5 stars to and this is one of them. Not only would I re-read this one and any more the author writes for this series but I would also hunt down bonus content if it were offered anywhere, I enjoyed the read that much!
The story arc was interesting, following along with both Seb and Hayley as they learn the truth of what happened THAT night. The character progression was what made this such a good read for me, seeing how events changed the teens and also how his private life had made Seb into who he is. I'm hoping for much more about Tilly and Val in the next book as well, it's such a good, and interesting family dynamic.
With all the possibilities for who may have been responsible, I was a little surprised by the who if not by the why and I guess that is also a big part of my enjoyment of this book. After reading so many thrillers, it's rare for one to surprise me in this way and made it all the more enjoyable especially with how logical the final reveal was.
Now to wait for book 2 and hop to see a bit more of Faye in that one too!

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I always love the first book in a new police procedural series- it's like getting Christmas morning as a kid all over again- you have no idea what is in the package- will you like/love the lead character, will the other characters be as good, will the place/concepts work...Locke is definitely a keeper- he reminds me of televisions Sherlock- he sees what others aren't seeing for the bigger picture- the nuances that are wrong. The reader may guess quickly why Da Silva confessed all those years ago, but the question is, who REALLY is the killer, and as the story progresses, the reader isn't sure until the roller coaster ending. Can't wait for book 2 in this series!

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I would like to thank Netgalley and Hera Books for an advance copy of The Quiet Dead, the first novel to feature DI Sebastian Locke of Surrey Police.

Sixteen years ago fifteen year old Hayley DaSilva returns home from a night of partying to find her mother, her twin brother and his friend brutally stabbed to death and her younger brother, Ethan, missing. Her father, Leonard quickly confesses and is sentenced to life in prison. Now Ethan’s remains have been discovered and Hayley returns to Thamespark from the life she has made in New York to find out that Leonard’s confession was false and DI Locke is determined to catch the real murderer.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Quiet Dead, which is a great mix of police procedural and psychological thriller. I like the way the narrative switches between Locke and his investigation and Hayley’s actions and reactions to this new reality. It gives the novel a depth and emotional heft many in the genre don’t have. I was glued to the pages.

I was impressed by the way the author develops her plot as it starts with an apparent family annihilation situation and turns into something more nefarious yet banal. With a rather slapdash initial investigation and precious few notes and no forensics after such a long time the enquiry rests on interviews and deductive reasoning. Of course the small circle of witnesses and potential suspects either lie or are economical with the truth, so it’s a matter of piecing it all together to arrive at what I think is a clever and surprising resolution. There is an unexpectedly big story to discover.

I think Hayley DaSilva is an amazing creation. She ran away to America to get married and become the perfect wife in real contrast to the troubled, rebellious teenager she was before the slaughter. Basically she hid, not even telling her husband about her past. Then she comes home and finds a third version of herself. It is a real voyage of self discovery and she is surprisingly likeable in spite of some of her past decisions. She has relatable reactions and feels real(ish).

I didn’t feel that Sebastian Locke really came to life in this novel aside from his relationship with his daughter. Still, it’s the first novel so there’s plenty of time for him to grow and shine more strongly.

The Quiet Dead is a good read that I have no hesitation in recommending.

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