I’m so late posting my review for my stop on the blog tour for The Murder Club by Nikki Crutchley today. Massive apologies to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources and to the author for my tardiness, time has escaped me. I hope it is a case of better late than never. Thanks to the author and publisher for my digital copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.
‘Not all evil, on the surface, is ugly and menacing. It doesn’t always lurk in city centres after dark. It mows your lawns, frequents your local pub, takes its kids to school and contributes to communities.’
When the first letter arrives saying that ‘tonight it begins’, journalist Miller Hatcher ignores it. But then the body of a murdered woman is discovered, strangled, a scarf around her neck.
Cassie Hughes has always vowed to find the man who murdered her mother. Cassie knows he’s out there and wants him to pay, and Miller agrees to bring the cold case back into the public’s eye.
Logan Dodds has been obsessed with true crime ever since his sister was murdered thirty years ago. He has turned his obsession into a career and has created the True Crime Enthusiasts Club and his newest venture, True Crime Tours.
The lives of Miller, Cassie and Logan – all affected differently by murder – become entwined as The Scarf Killer, desperate for infamy, and Miller’s attention, makes his mark on the small town of Lentford.
Nothing is creepier than evil in small town. In a city, people expect it. The night is full of strangers with unknown motives and desires. We learn young to be fearful of strangers. How much worse is it when murders begin on your doorstep in a small town, where you know everyone? Everyone is a friend or neighbour. Who then should you suspect, be afraid of? How quickly will people become suspicious and turn on each other, pointing out how creepy they have always found one previously harmless character? How long before they start taking notice of their friend’s suddenly suspicious behaviour?
This is the premise behind The Murder Club and is definitely one that will get the hackles on your neck rising. Journalist Miller Hatcher has moved into the home of her mother in the small New Zealand town of Lentford where some people have lived for generations and you are outsider unless you have been a resident for at least a decade. When the murders begin, Miller is perfectly placed to view the crimes with an unbiased eye, but the murderer seems determined to draw her further in to the case that is comfortable. On top of that, she has also attracted the attention of the town’s weird murder groupie and the daughter of a murder victim, whose mother’s case remains unsolved after 14 years. Is there a link between all three?
I really enjoyed The Murder Club. I found Miller to be a fascinating and likeable protagonist, and her position as journalist, with an inside ear in the police investigation gave an interesting perspective on the case. The author’s portrayal of small town lives and prejudices felt very real and familiar to me, coming as I do from a close knit community, but at the same time with enough variety to keep me interested. As it is set in New Zealand, there were a lot of things that were unfamiliar and enticing to grapple with.
The novel was well-paced with plenty of twists and turns and red herrings. I thought I had solved things a couple of times, but I didn’t get it quite right, and the story kept me gripped until the very end. I particularly enjoyed the human angles of the story dealing with the trauma people suffer as a result of family members being victims of crime, or they themselves, and I thought the author dealt with this very well. I note that this is the second book featuring Miller Hatcher and, whilst it works perfectly as a standalone, I will definitely go back and read the first book, because I would like to know more about what happened to Miller in Castle Bay and why she ended up where she did. I feel that there is more to explore with this character and, despite the author saying she never intended Miller to end up as the centre of a series, I would be very interested in seeing more from her.
The Murder Club is highly recommended for anyone who likes a claustrophobic thriller with a strong dose of the exploration of human nature within it.
The Murder Club is out now and you can buy a copy here.
Please do check out the rest of the blogs taking part in the tour:
About the Author
After seven years of working as a librarian in New Zealand and overseas, Nikki now works as a freelance proofreader and copy editor. She lives in the small Waikato town of Cambridge in New Zealand with her husband and two girls.
Nikki has been writing on and off her whole life and before she turned to crime writing had success in flash fiction. She has been published in ‘Bonsai: Best Small Fictions from Aotearoa New Zealand’, and ‘Fresh Ink’ anthologies.
Crime/thriller/mystery novels are her passion. Her first novel, ‘Nothing Bad Happens Here’, featuring journalist Miller Hatcher, is set on the Coromandel Coast of New Zealand. It was a finalist in the 2018 Ngaio Marsh Award for best first novel. Her second book, ‘No One Can Hear You’, was long-listed for the Ngaio Marsh Award for best novel in 2019. ‘The Murder Club’ is the second in the Miller Hatcher series.
Connect with Nikki:
Facebook: Nikki Crutchley Author