Well, I have to be honest and say I was really surprised. This book was recommended to me via Facebook from somebody who was currently reading this book. I fancied somebody new and realised that it has only taken me a few days to finish this and thoroughly enjoyed it.
I loved the setting in Ireland as it seems lately a lot of crime books I have been reading have been set in London. Niamh's writing is pretty good too. It's an easy to read style, nothing too taxing and complicated but enough to draw interest (nothing worse that reading a book and feeling like you are taking a course in forensic psychology!). Jo Birmingham is a good lead character and her situation is one that is not uncommon, in books or in the real world. She is a typical working mother that has to try and balance work and home. What I really liked about Jo was that she wasn't made as perfect as other characters I have read in the past. Typical lead women do NOT have to be perfect and sometimes (like in the case of this book) it's nice to see them make mistakes and doubt themselves.
I also loved the other characters that make appearances throughout the story, namely her ex-husband Dan and her colleagues John Foxe (known and Foxy in the book. What a great nickname!) and Gavin Sexton. The story itself is built up in layers which made it more interesting to read, we weren't thrown out of the frying pan and in to the fat. The story is built up as we learn more about each person and the role they play following the discovery of the first body.
From the perspective of the crimes themselves, this was the area I felt it lacked a little something. Other crime writers are far more descriptive with murder scenes and this book lacked that certain something that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up when reading about a murder!
The killer itself was not somebody I guessed which pleased me a lot (nothing worse than guessing half way through and being right) and although the ending was okay it wasn't the greatest. It felt a little rushed towards the end and amybe a little 'unfinished'. I wouldn't say that the book was perfect and at the moment there is so much competition in this genre that it is very hard to stand out from the crowd. Having said that; this book is certainly a great read, and is a great catalyst for a series featuring Jo Birmingham. Crime itself is relentless wherever you are in the world and her personal life could go either way. Having loved the characters and enjoyed the writing I am looking forward to her second book featuring Jo. I think overall for a debut novel this is a great book and I would recommend it.