Review: Five Bloody Hearts (DCI Matt Ballard, #2) by Joy Ellis

Print Length: 335 pages
Publisher: Jofee Books (February 10, 2019)


Grace Repton, a beautiful older woman, walks into the police station to tell Matt she has information that could stop a murder. Her fiancé, the infamous serial killer Jeremy Reader, has told her that he has a disciple who is going to kill using Reader’s horrific methods.

Reader murdered five women and was finally brought to justice by Detective Ballard. Reader is safely imprisoned in a high security prison, and claiming to be a reformed man who wants to help the police.

But can Matt believe the serial killer or his peculiar wife to be? Can the love of a good woman really change a serial killer?

And the Fenland police also have another investigation on their hands. A Lithuanian migrant worker is found dead on the fens. There is no ID on him, but he has a Tree of Life tattoo. The third body to be found with this distinctive tattoo. Is this gang war or something even more sinister?


The police are stretched to breaking point with multiple copycat murders. And Matt and his girlfriend Liz will fight for everything they care about in a heart-stopping conclusion that will have you on the edge of your seat.


My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

This was one of those stories that I just couldn't get into. It took me several attempts to actually be able to finish this one (and a lot longer than it usually takes me to finish a novel, to be honest). For one thing, there was a lot going on in this novel that was just entirely too implausible for me. Even knowing that I was going to have to suspend disbelief to an extent, there is no possible way that someone would be so skilled that they could fool so many people. That coupled with the way this novel ended, just left so much to be desired. 

The main characters all seemed to be a bit lackluster as well, its a real shame indeed when the most interesting character of all of them was the flamboyantly gay pathologist. Perhaps its because you know at the start of this series that Ballard is retiring that makes it seem like an ending instead of a beginning (as I assume future novels will focus on him and Liz as they begin their PI company). 

Overall, if I came across this author (or even another installment in this series) in the future and the synopsis grabbed me, I would probably give them another read.


                              Five Bloody Hearts is available from

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