Published 16 July 2015 by Sphere
After years of abuse, Gemma Adderley has finally found the courage to leave her violent husband. She has taken one debilitating beating too many, endured one esteem-destroying insult too much. Taking her seven-year-old daughter Carly, she leaves the house, determined to salvage what she can of her life.
She phones Safe Harbour, a women’s refuge, and they tell her which street corner to wait on and what the car that will pick her up will look like. They tell her the word the driver will use so she knows it’s safe to get in.
And that’s the last they hear from her.
Gemma Adderley’s daughter Carly is found wandering the city streets on her own the next day. Her mother’s mutilated corpse turns up by the canal several weeks later. Her heart has been removed.
Detective Inspector Phil Brennan takes on the case, and his wife, psychologist Marina Esposito, is brought in to try and help unlock Carly’s memories of what happened that day. The race is on to solve the case before the Heartbreaker strikes again…
I’ve been racing through the Tania Carver Brennan/Esposito series this month and totally falling in love with them. I am finally at book seven, which is Heartbreaker and the latest one published in 2015. I do recommend starting this series from the beginning and getting to know and truly appreciate Phil Brennan and Marina Esposito. It really is worth it. They are excellent!
Now the story follows on from Truth or Dare and we can see the very real effects on the marriage of Brennan and Marina. They are now separated and clearly unhappy without each other. They need someone to force them into the same room, to talk and sort out their issues. A woman and her child are trying to flee domestic violence and get help at a refuge. The child, Carly, is found wandering the streets and Gemma turns up much later brutally murdered. Someone is targetting vulnerable women, like Gemma. He is a damaged individual, termed the Heartbreaker by the press. Can Brennan find him in time to stop further killings?
Once again we get a powerful story with insight into domestic abuse and misogyny. Some of the strongest scenes come from the abusive relationships being played out. Plus we hear from the abusers and the lame excuses they make for their disgusting behaviour. I guessed early on, who was likely to be the Heartbreaker killer and I was right.
I thought Phil Brennan was particularly interesting in this one and how he reacted to the marital split. I do love these two together. They remind me a little of Karen Slaughter’s Sara Linton and Jeffrey Tolliver from her early Grant County series.
This is a BRILLIANT dark psychological crime series. Crime fans everywhere should get to know Phil Brennan and Marina Esposito and love them. I really rate this series highly and will be keeping up to date with it, from now on. There is nothing I appreciate more than strong regular characters and totally evil villains, plus a lovely psychological spin. And this latest read Heartbreaker was a joy to read. Tania Carver is up there with the best of British crime writers.