A Savage Hunger by Claire McGowan

About this book..

The fourth in the crime series featuring forensic psychologist Paula Maguire by Claire McGowan acclaimed as ‘Ireland’s answer to Ruth Rendell’ by Ken Bruen.

Victim: Female. Twenty-two years of age.
Reason for investigation: Missing person.
ID: Alice Morgan. Student. Last seen at a remote religious shrine in Ballyterrin.

Alice Morgan’s disappearance raises immediate questions for forensic psychologist Paula Maguire. Alice, the daughter of a life peer in the Home Office, has vanished along with a holy relic – the bones of a saint – and the only trace is the bloodstains on the altar.

With no body to confirm death, the pressure in this high-profile case is all-consuming, and Paula knows that she will have to put her own life, including her imminent marriage, on hold, if they are to find the truth.

A connection to a decades-old murder immediately indicates that all may not be as it seems; as the summer heat rises and tempers fray, can Alice be found or will they learn that those that are hungry for vengeance may be the most savage of all?


My review..

This has been an interesting series so far and this recent addition really stands out for me. Dr Paula Maguire returns in this 4th book- a self contained mystery involving a missing person. It can be read as a standalone novel but to get the full appreciation of Paula’s relationships and history, it’s probably better to read the books in order of publication.

22 year old Alice has gone missing. At the church where she was working as a caretaker and was last seen, there is a lot of blood, an old photo and a missing religious relic. Paula, alongsIde Jane Corry, is brought in to investigate and quickly discovers another woman went missing from the same church nearly 30 years ago. What has happened to Alice and can Paula solve the case while also dealing with her complex personal life?

This is probably the most gripping of all 4 books that I have read so far. Paula is struggling with organising a major family event and overseeing building works while she trys to work out what has happened to Alice. We read snippets from Alice throughout the story. This helps us as we delve deeper into her problems with her family, and also her anorexia, providing us with more clues as to what has happened to her. I found both twisty threads really engrossing and couldn’t wait to see how they were brought to a climax by the author. And boy, talk about an explosive ending!!! The perfect way to leave your readers wanting more!!

If you’ve never read this series before I think you would get way more enjoyment of the plot if you start at book 1 in the series. Then I can guarantee you will want to read the rest pretty quickly to catch up! The background descriptions of the troubles in Northern Ireland make this a very detailed and unique police crime procedural written with a great knowledge and understanding of that time. Bringing a present day missing persons case into the mix but still making it feel relevant to the past is a very clever trick indeed. An intelligent and thought provoking read and I can’t WAIT to see where Paula goes from here!

I received a copy of this book via netgalley in return for an honest review.

Available.to buy here


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I am a Norfolk girl living in leafy Cheshire with my grumpy Scotsman. A mum and nana who lives for my family but who is also addicted to reading (and Marmite!) I will read almost anything but my preferred genres to review are psychological thrillers, crime procedural novels or women's fiction. My kindle is my life but I also have a substantial bookshelf in my cosy reading room where I can go to escape the stresses of family life with plenty of tea and chocolate. I am a member of netgalley and bookbridg. I review on Amazon, where I'm a Top 500 reviewer, and Goodreads. You can always find me over on Twitter @jocatrobertson for any review requests.

9 thoughts on “A Savage Hunger by Claire McGowan”

    1. I would definitely recommend as its very addictive with a backstory that’s not really appeared in a crime series before (not that I’ve read anyway!) I’m pretty sure the first 2 books are 99p on Amazon at the moment and there is also a free short story out too πŸ˜€

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  1. I’m hearing a lot of good things about this series and might have to keep an eye out on my next library trip! Would you be happy if I link your post up to Reading Ireland Month on my blog?

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      1. I LOVE that series! It’s another of my “must reads” and as soon as I know there is a new one coming out I start begging for a copy lol. And if truth be told I also have a huge crush on Josh Derwent! 😊

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