Book Review: Dog Rose Dirt by Jen Williams

Dog Rose Dirt* by Jen Williams

Publisher: HarperCollins

Publication date: 22 July 2021

Genre: Psychological thriller

Page count: 368 pages

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book* from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

When prodigal daughter Heather Evans returns to her family home after her mother’s baffling suicide, she makes an alarming discovery–stacks and stacks of carefully preserved letters from notorious serial killer Michael Reave. The “Red Wolf,” as he was dubbed by the press, has been in prison for over twenty years, serving a life sentence for the gruesome and ritualistic murders of several women across the country, although he has always protested his innocence. The police have had no reason to listen, yet Heather isn’t the only one to have cause to re-examine the murders. The body of a young woman has just been found, dismembered and placed inside a tree, the corpse planted with flowers. Just as the Red Wolf once did.

What did Heather’s mother know? Why did she kill herself? And with the monstrous Red Wolf safely locked inside a maximum security prison, who is stalking young women now? Teaming up with DI Ben Parker, Heather hopes to get some answers for herself and for the newest victims of this depraved murderer. Yet to do that, she must speak to Michael Reave herself, and expose herself to truths she may not be ready to face. Something dark is walking in the woods, and it knows her all too well.

While I hadn’t read any of her books before, I have always known Jen Williams as a very well established fantasy author. When I heard she had written a crime novel, it’s safe to say I was intrigued! Dog Rose Dirt is a dark and thrilling crime novel filled with secrets and lies.

I tend to have mixed reactions to crime thrillers, but I ended up really enjoying this one! Williams creates a dark and atmospheric story that is tense, believable, and harrowing. There were twists and turns aplenty, and I really appreciated Heather as a realistic, although sad, character. She’s not an unreliable narrator, but she’s messy and conflicted and I really enjoyed reading her point of view. I also enjoyed the fact that she isn’t the only POV character — Dog Rose Dirt shifts between past and present, from character to character, in an incredibly effective way.

As usual, I don’t feel like I should say too much when reviewing a crime or thriller book, so I won’t say much more. If you enjoy dark, psychological thrillers, I’d highly recommend picking this book up! Once I picked this book up, I couldn’t put it down — it is a perfect read for your autumn TBR!

Want to pick up a copy of Dog Rose Dirt for yourself? You can find it at the following sites (affiliate links): 

Blackwells | Book Depository


*Titled A Dark and Secret Place in the US

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