Review: Dig Two Graves (DS Hedley Sharpe Mysteries Book 1) by Helen H. Durrant


Print Length: 256 pages
Publisher: Joffe Books (March 14, 2024)

From  Chloe Todd believes her baby daughter is sleeping peacefully in her pram in the back garden. She lifts away the blanket to check on her — and gasps in shock. Chloe’s neighbour calls the police. But all is not as it seems . . .

Day 2. Superintendent Hedley Sharpe is called to a murder scene in the city centre. A body is discovered in a cellar beneath an empty shop. A single shot to the head. The victim has been dead at least a year.

Day 3. A second body is found in the cellar next door. Again a single bullet wound in the head. But this time the body is fresh. Hedley Sharpe doesn’t believe in coincidence. The two murders must be linked. Then he uncovers a connection to young mother Chloe Todd — and the case takes an extraordinary twist. Hedley’s investigations will unearth a series of dark secrets. Secrets that reach back into his own troubled past.


My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

For the first novel in a brand new series, this one really missed the mark for me (and I am a big fan of this author and most of her other books). Don't get me wrong, the premise was a solid one, it was the characters that I felt were sorely lacking. 

First we have Hedley, an overweight DS who trusts his gut and comes across as brash to those around him (including his own work colleagues). He also keeps a bottle of whiskey in his desk drawer and has been known on occasion to indulge in a "little splash" in his coffee now and then; in the middle of the workday. 

By contrast, his partner Stuart is the complete opposite. This one comes across as very naive and at times, downright gullible. We not only see him repeatedly duped by other characters, but he even tries to admonish Hedley on more than one occasion, either for his "treatment" of potential victims, or for continuing to investigate even though "everything is cut and dry." 

Considering these two will, I assume, be the leading characters in future novels I am hoping there is some deeper character development to come because right now, I find very little to recommend either of them. The fact that Hedley has a tragic background (his wife was murdered) is something that I strongly feel needs to be explored in the future. Even if his gut instinct was right, and the person responsible for her murder is now dead, I still want to know what exactly led up to her murder since it wasn't mentioned in this story. I would also like to see Hedley in the immediate aftermath of this loss as maybe that would better explain some of his behaviors now. 

Now that I've discussed our two prominent leads and what I perceive as their shortcomings, let me talk about the other characters featured in this novel. The major villains just either didn't seem like villains or were so over the top that you had to roll your eyes. Let's begin with Rawlins, Simon and Murray. All three are supposed to be "major players" in the criminal syndicate, yet (unless you count Simon bullying his wife) we never see them actually doing anything that would earn them that sort of heavy reputation. And for all that Murray is supposed to be a crime lord, his solicitor sure gives up pretty fast. 

And then there are the women of this novel. Selina comes across by far as being the most blood-thirsty of the bunch, while Chloe comes across as just... off ....  throughout the entire book. We know she's suffered a loss. We know her home life is not as she presents it. But there is still something missing about her character that makes me even want to sympathize with her, much less root for her. We know from the jump she's hiding something, we just don't know what that something is. And don't get me started on Brenda, who I am sure was meant to mean well, but just came across as one of those nosy neighbors that no one wants to deal with. 

All of that said, it is because I enjoy this author more often than not, I will be giving book number two in this series a shot before I decide whether or not to continue on with it or wait for her to come up with something new. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this that review are 100% my own.

Post a Comment