26 Nov 2018

(JOCASTA HUGHES MYSTERIES: BOOKS 1 & 2): DEAD PRETTY & BODY HEAT.



Dr. Jocasta Hughes, thirty-two years old, a willowy blonde with a wicked sense of humour and an unsatisfactory love life, works part-time as a GP in Hastings, a small English fishing town, and is on call as a Forensic Medical Practioner for the local police. When it becomes clear that there is a vicious serial killer on the loose, Jo finds herself increasingly at risk.
- Back Cover Blurb

She lies there, on the dishevelled bed, mocking him.
- First Sentence; Prologue

She was to become the latest victim, strangled with a urinary catheter wielded by a necrophiliac mortuary attendant. What a way to go.
- Memorable Moment; Page 315 (Contains major spoiler; scroll over to highlight text TT)


The second in the Dr Jocasta Hughes sees the Hastings Forensic Medical Practitioner faced with a gruesome series of murders which leave the remains of the victims twisted and charred. The hunt heats up for the arsonist, and so does Jo’s relationship with the exasperating DI Miller. A chilling mystery with lead characters you will want to spend more time with, and a murderer you would definitely want to avoid.
- Back Cover Blurb

He was driving carefully, making sure he didn't attract attention, although he hardly saw another car once he had left the town.
- First Sentence; Prologue.

The forensic tent glowed eerily in the half-light, but the blue-clad figures seemed slightly faded as they searched the immediate area around the tent now that dawn was beginning to break.
- Memorable Moment; Page 129

SOURCE ... I was honoured to have received both copies from the author, CANDY DENMAN.

READ FOR A CHALLENGE? ... No.

MY THOUGHTS ... Well! What a great start to what promises to be a fascinating and, I'm guessing, long running, series. 

Having now read both of the first books, I can safely say that, as with most books of this genre, both Dead Pretty and, its sequel, Body Heat, CAN be read as stand-alone novels as each deals with its own separate case. However, to get the best out of them, I'd strongly suggest you begin at the beginning as both stories are much more than a crime novel.

As with many crime stories that feature amateur sleuths a certain amount of suspending your disbelief is needed as Jocasta (AKA Jo) not only carries out her own investigations but is paramount in actually solving the cases in Hastings, a small fishing village, that, not unlike Cabot Cove (home of Jessica FletcherMurder, She Wrote), seemingly has one of the highest murder ratios of anywhere in America. That said ...

Jo's life; Forensic Medical Practitioner, General Practitioner, daughter and friend is perfectly depicted ...

Jo's relationship with her family (her mother and father make for great secondary characters; outside of the murders it is her rapport with them that most interested me) and the author's social commentary (much of it about the state of the health service) making for great sub-plots. It's the will-they-won't-they relationship between Jo and DI Miller that I could well do without but then that's me.

Full of chills (dramatically added to by the author giving the murderer their own voice from time to time, {sigh} if only there had been a tad more of these insights) and thrills as the author piles red herring upon red herring in novels that, though (on more than one occasion as it turns out) you are absolutely/ positively/without a shadow of a doubt convinced you know whodunit, actually keep you doubting right up until the end. ...

As for the characters? Hmm! A fan of good, feisty female characters. Whilst without a doubt Jo is not without courage (some if it ill-advised but nevertheless courageous), its just I'm afraid I once again found myself disappointed that so much more was made of her and her fellow female characters physical (or lack of them) attributes than there were the male characters. 

A small gripe in what were otherwise hugely compelling reads that kept me gripped from beginning to end.


8 comments:

Annie Wilkes said...

I read a book with web sleuths in it last year I think and find it fascinating. Will need to check this out, thanks love xxx

Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

WordsPoeticallyWorth said...

Greetings Tracy. Sounds like both books you read of the series interested you to read on until the end. I'm not doing much reading at the moment (except posts from other blogs) as I'm writing two novels. Blessings. Love love, Andrew.

Brian Joseph said...

This sounds entertaining and fun. Red Herrings can also really enhance a mystery but I think that they can be overdone. One has to be astonished at the high murder rate in these small towns :)

Kelly said...

This sounds like a really good series and I love the cover on the first installment. (I seem to have a thing for skulls) Of course I had to scroll over the part you had hidden - that sentence just begged to be completed!

Glad you enjoyed it and I'll keep it in mind myself.

Sophia Rose said...

Oh yeah, these do sound good. Glad they can read standalone, but good to know its best to read in order.

Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer said...

Oh this series sounds right up my alley. Adding both to my list!

nightwingsraven said...

Tracy,
This sounds like the start
of a gripping series and
Jocasta an interesting and
strong heroine (but I also
took your critical points
to heart). I will add both
books to my list).
And thank you for your excellent
review.
Raven

Sherry Fundin said...

Oh yeah. These are right up my alley and I love the covers.
sherry @ fundinmental