Review: One Lost Soul (Hidden Norfolk #1) by J.M. Dalgliesh


Print Length: 294 pages
Publisher: J.M. Dalgliesh (October 5, 2019)

From  The darkest secrets often hide in plain sight…

When a body is found on a lonely cliff top path, the angelic face of a murdered teenager lies facing the rising sun. Strangled by the hands of an unknown killer, it falls to DI Tom Janssen and his fledgling team to find out how she came to be there. Destined for a career in medicine, one to rival that of her parents, Holly Bettany’s future was as bright as it had been privileged. Seemingly, all that could threaten this promising teenager’s life was Holly herself.

In an idyllic coastal setting, Janssen must unpick the layers of deceit within a close-knit community that threaten to reveal scandal at every turn. Holly had a secret… and she knew the secrets of others…

Who was prepared to kill in order to keep them hidden? What happens if another comes to know what she did? One thing is certain… a brutal killer has no boundaries…


My Rating: 1 star out of 5

This novel was an utterly confusing hot mess. It started off interestingly enough, we have a dead girl from a wealthy family, and a lot of suspicious characters who you can tell right away have something to hide. 

But as this one goes on, it just gets worse and worse. To begin with, I never felt any sense of urgency about the investigation, not even when we finally get to what was supposed to be a climatic ending. Instead, I just felt rather bored to be honest. Also, the characters were all very one dimensional (including the poor dead girl which made it very hard to care that she had been killed). I mean what is the point of DI Janssen having all of these "thoughts" on the case when he never reveals any of them? We're just told over and over that he's gone quiet because he's thinking things through. The DCI is almost as bad, although her thoughts tend to center a lot around her parents and her fiancé, who I get the the feeling she doesn't like all that much. Or at the very least she seriously seems to be reconsidering the relationship, but again, why are her thoughts on her personal life and not on who killed Holly? 

I feel like this novel definitely needed a good edit from an outside party because there are some things that needed re-working, and some things that just didn't make sense. 

For example, when it was discovered that Holly was pregnant, why were DNA samples not taken from the two most likely suspects if for no other reason than to rule them out? And how was her phone not found in its "secret location" during a certain search? I mean I can understand a gun not being found because the person later said they knew enough to move that, but it seemed like the phone was something they did not know about, and yet the cops executing the search warrant didn't think to check under the bed? Although, thinking back to it, when the gun was finally brought out into play it was specifically mentioned that there was a layer of dust which means it couldn't have been moved all that recently. Again, something that would have been picked up had this book been edited before publication. 

Now let's talk about the ending of the novel, and I will do my best to do so without spoilers. First of all, the fact that three of the characters were so closely intertwined was just laughable. There seemed to be absolutely no rhyme or reason as to why two of them would have reconnected and all that we are told was it was because of "their past".  That is all well and good, but what happened in their past that made them want to reconnect so strongly in the present? Not to mention that when the killer is finally apprehended we get absolutely NOTHING concrete as to motive, or even if they truly did it. Sure, all signs point to them being guilty, but instead of getting a scene inside of an interrogation room where our dogged officers get their suspect to confess and explain not only what happened but why, all we get are a bunch of theories thrown around by said officers as to what might have happened. It was very disappointing to say the least.

All things considered, this one felt like a very rough outline that an author would put together before going back and adding in all the details that would really bring it the story to life. I see that this author has a lot of other published works, so I may pick up a different title at a later date to see if his style has improved.

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