The Devil’s Claw – Lara Dearman (sampler)


The Devil’s Claw is published on 7 September 2017 by Trapeze. Amazon UK link


Following a traumatic incident in London, Jennifer Dorey has returned to her childhood home in Guernsey, taking a job as a reporter at the local newspaper.

After the discovery of a drowned woman on a beach, she uncovers a pattern of similar deaths that have taken place over the past fifty years.

Together with DCI Michael Gilbert, an officer on the verge of retirement, they follow a dark trail of island myths and folklore to ‘Fritz’, the illegitimate son of a Nazi soldier. His work, painstakingly executed, has so far gone undetected.

But with his identity about to be uncovered, the killer now has Jennifer in his sights.

My thoughts

This is a review based on the first three chapters of The Devil’s Claw.

The book opens with a kidnapping. Who has been taken and why? We are in left in no doubt that this will end in death. The atmosphere is chilling. The girl will suffer. Why was she so naive to accept a lift from a stranger?

The action moves on in chapter two. We are in Guernsey, a small island in the Channel. We get to know Jenny, a young woman who has moved back to the island. She is being followed by a man on a motor bike. Or so she thinks. She is slightly paranoid. We wonder why. Jenny is back living with her parents, like many who cannot afford to live alone. She works as a journalist. Checking through her emails, Jenny finds one with the word ‘BITCH’. It is a reminder from someone. She is being watched. She is being hated.

Matt is introduced. He is socialising with his friends. He appears youngish and rather mixed up. He ends up walking alone, on the beach and around the cliffs. He becomes gripped by fear, as his imagination lets loose. He is persuaded to get back to the beer. We get a sense that he was right to feel terror. It hints at something out there, waiting to be discovered.

Chapter three takes us back to 1959 and the harassment and bullying of a boy. These flashbacks may make sense further into the story. Who is this boy? We get a sense that his mother may have colluded with the Germans during the war. Formed an illicit relationship. He is left bleeding. We see that he is trying to make sense of his identity and how he fits in.

We return to Jenny, our young reporter. We see Jenny with her mother, Margaret. They seem quite close. Margaret seems to be grieving for her husband. Jenny is ready to engage with the local community and meet old friends. Jenny is off to the fireworks display, to cover it for the paper. She encourages Margaret to come with her. Screams come from the beach. Fear. A body has been found. Cliffhanger moment.

This is a smashing extract. A gripping mini read. It makes me want to read on. I need to know about Jenny. I need to know about the body and the police investigation. How it is all connected? Who is the boy in 1959? What made Jenny return home? This is a place of fear and death. There is a killer. Tell me more…



About Northern Crime

Reviewer with a mind of her own. This is a collection of book reviews, which started in 2014. Mostly crime and odd other genres thrown in. Some I loved. Some I loathed. You get the picture.
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