'A taut and compelling thriller, as sharp as the thorns that feature in the plot' Ann Cleeves
'One of the boldest, most inventive serial-killer thrillers since The Silence of the Lambs' AJ Finn
Deceit, betrayal and tension abound in this chilling police procedural from dazzling new voice Ashley Dyer.
Sergeant Ruth Lake and DCI Greg Carver are on the hunt for a serial killer who carefully poses his victims and covers every inch of their bodies in intricate, cryptic tattoos. Dubbed the 'Thorn Killer', by the media, the killer uses a primitive and excruciatingly painful thorn method to etch his victims. After many months, a breakthrough feels imminent. Then the killer gets personal: the latest victim - a student found only a week earlier - is staged to look like Carver's wife.
Pushed over the edge, Carver spirals into a self-destructive cycle of booze and risky sex. Now he lies near death, and the unreadable Lake stands over him with a gun. Did she shoot her boss? If not, why is she removing evidence from his apartment, faking the scene?
Ruth, too, is convinced that Carver is holding back; that he remembers more than he admits. Why is he lying? Does he know what she did? How can she hope to unravel the half-truths, hidden meanings, secrets and lies at the centre of this investigation when she herself has lied and lied?
Intrigued, the Thorn Killer watches their every move - all the while plotting the next. Can Carver and Lake pull together to catch him before he strikes again? Or will they be held captive by their own web of lies?
Utterly gripping, with a twisting plot that keeps you guessing until the end, SPLINTER IN THE BLOOD is an unforgettable read that will get under your skin.
A taut and compelling thriller, as sharp as the thorns that feature in the plot. — Ann Cleeves
Ashley Dyer pulls off a masterclass . . . There is a rich history to these characters' lives and relationships that we catch glimpses of, but with enough held back to keep us guessing. Splinter in the Blood is a book you can pick up in the knowledge that you will be told a good story by a writer at the top of her game. — Sheffield Telegraph, Read of the Fortnight
Compelling, clever. Packed with macabre and fascinating forensic details. A stunning debut. — Mo Hayder
The novel is packed with police and forensic detail because its author is a pseudonym for two women with impressive pedigrees in both: Margaret Murphy was chair of the Crime Writers' Association and Helen Pepper was a forensic scientist who now lectures on policing. They make a formidable combination. — Daily Mail
One of the boldest, most inventive serial-killer thrillers since The Silence of the Lambs. Packed with forensic detail, anchored by a protagonist as complicated as she is compelling, this ferocious novel is perfect for fans of Jeffery Deaver and Chris Carter — AJ Finn
Enthralling . . . The skillfully constructed plot complements the intriguing characters, including a deliciously creepy killer who lurks in the background. Dyer is definitely a crime writer to watch. — Publishers Weekly, starred review