Wednesday 6 April 2022

Dead Secret by Noelle Holten #DeadSecret @nholten40 @0neMoreChapter_ @HarperCollinsUK #DCMaggieJamieson #BookReview


Psychopaths can take root in the unlikeliest soil…

DC Maggie Jamieson crosses paths once again with Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood when a domestic violence survivor stumbles into her new refuge, unable to speak, desperate for help.

Then another case hits Maggie’s desk. A young man has been murdered, and a curious constellation of black dots has been inked onto his cheek.

That’s when DCI Hastings goes missing and Maggie uncovers a shocking connection that turns the case on its head.

Every family may hide secrets, but not every family buries them…

Dead Secret by Noelle Holten was published in paperback on 22 July 2021 by One More Chapter. I purchased my copy online. 

Dead Secret is the fourth in the DC Maggie Jamieson series, and whilst it would be highly beneficial and very enjoyable for you to read the three previous books in the series, this is a stand alone story that works perfectly well on its own. The writer is skilled in providing the back story to the characters, without bogging down the narrative with previous events. 

One of the main strengths in this series is the character creation. Holten has brought to life a cast of people who are often flawed, yet are totally realistic. Her female leads are particularly intriguing and with each case we learn a little more about them. The reader is not expected to love them, or to understand everything that they choose to do, but they really are formed so very well. Maybe we will recognise a bit of ourselves in them?

Maggie has a murder case to solve. It's a particularly nasty killing, a young man found dead in local woodland. He has some strange markings on his face and these raise many questions from Maggie and her team. If that's not bad enough, there's drama closer to home for the investigating team when one of their own colleagues goes missing, along with his wife and daughter. It's not long before the pressure increases as the team desperately search for them, and, are the two cases linked?

Lucy Sherwood, a character we got to know in book one of the series has finally opened her refuge for victims of domestic violence. Lucy herself is a survivor of abuse and her own trauma and experiences enable her to support other victims so well. Although not officially taking clients, Lucy cannot turn the young woman who appears at her door away. Ronnie is scared, nervous and very closed. It's clear that she has many issues, but getting any information from her proves to be difficult. 

Although at first sight, these cases all appear to be totally separate,  it soon becomes clear that there's a link between the people involved and it becomes urgent and nail biting as the team creep closer to the truth.

This is an action-packed, sometimes brutal story that is written exceedingly well. The author draws on her years of experience as a probation officer which adds such a feeling of realism and authenticity to the plot line. 

Maggie Jamieson is a character who continues to grow. She's often impetuous, very emotional and sometimes becomes too involved in her cases. Her on-going, blossoming relationship with local news reporter is fascinating; it's a real love/hate relationship that Maggie cannot seem to control. This glimpse into the private lives of the characters adds some depth and also a little relief from the action of the crime part of the novel. 

Noelle Holten goes from strength to strength. She's created a series that gets better with each book and deals with some of the darkest issues within society. I'm looking forward to more, and soon. 

Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at

She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of risk cases as well as working in a multi agency setting. 
She has three Hons BA's - Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice - and a Masters in Criminology. 
Noelle's hobbies include reading, attending as many book festivals as she can afford and sharing the booklove via her blog.

Dead Inside - her debut novel with One More Chapter/Harper Collins UK is an international kindle bestseller and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.

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Twitter: @nholten40 

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