Thursday 20 January 2022

Fairest Creatures by Karen Taylor BLOG TOUR @karen_taylor7 @leamingtonbooks #FairestCreatures @RandomTTours #BookReview

Looks to die for. A serial killer's dark obsession with the preservation of beauty sees him return to stalk the streets of Penzance in the summer of 2019. 

It's 23 years since his first victims went missing, setting DI Brandon Hammett on the hunt for the Sleeping Beauty Killer. 

A beautiful woman is being held captive in an unknown location. Although not physically injured, she is manacled to a chair in a darkened, sinister dining room. Her captor is polite but menacing. Her female companions silent spectators. 

When a glass box is found in Prussia Cove, containing a conch and the ear of a missing beauty, a murder investigation is launched. 

Is the Sleeping Beauty Killer back? Or is this a copycat killing? 

What's clear is an evasive, clever killer is at large, presenting DI Brandon Hammett with a deadly race against time

Fairest Creatures by Karen Taylor was published on 15 October 2021 by Leamington Books. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this #RandomThingsTours blog tour.

Fairest Creatures is a sinister, dark and very creepy serial killer story that is quite challenging in places, but always engrossing.

Penzance in Cornwall is a beautiful place and the discovery of bizarre and quite terrifying objects that point to a killer whose first victims were killed over twenty years ago darkens the mood of the community.  Is the Sleeping Beauty Killer really back? Is there someone out there who is copying the historical crimes? Where and when will he strike next?

I loved the structure of this novel. The author date stamps each chapter and these are narrated in turn by various characters. The most chilling of these is 'Creature'; where an unnamed woman is being held against her will, surrounded by dead women, and doing her very best to stay one step ahead of her captor. 

Also narrating is Brandon; the Detective Inspector in charge of the enquiry. Brandon was not around when the Sleeping Beauty Killer was originally on the loose, he's American, and only been in Cornwall for a few years. 

I've been really impressed by the construction of the novel; the plot is engaging and clever and the characters are really well drawn. The multiple narrators allows the reader to gain more insight into each character and what makes them tick. Coupled with the fabulous sense of place, with the Cornish seascape taking centre place at times, this really is an intelligently written thriller with a lot of depth.

Unpredictable, sometimes shocking, and with a hint of humour too. Recommended by me. 

Karen Taylor is a University of East Anglia alumni crime writer whose latest novel Fairest Creatures was long listed for the 2020 Crime Writers' Association Debut Dagger.

Before turning to crime, Karen wrote a series of children’s books and short stories. Her middle grade Sci-Fi novel Turbulence was shortlisted at the Winchester Writers Festival, alongside a novella and a short story. Her YA thriller Off The Rails won her a place in the Dragon’s Den at the London Book Fair in 2016.

Born and based in London, Karen is also a journalist and editor with wide ranging experience, covering anything from business to lifestyle. She's worked on trade, corporate and association publications, run international news teams, and contributed to newspapers and magazines including The Financial Times, The London Evening Standard, The London Magazine, The Independent, and The Far Eastern Economic Review. Her first thriller The Trade, published by Endeavour Press, was inspired by her globe-trotting years as a commodity markets reporter.

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