Portraits of the Dead by John Nicholl

About this book…

The greater the evil, the more deadly the game…

When Emma awakens in total darkness, she is aware of her nakedness. Injuries. A bed not her own. A blindingly bright light suddenly pierces the blackness and a disembodied male voice calls her “Venus”. Venus – the goddess of love, beauty, sex and desire. He says she is “Venus Six”. What does this predator want from her? Can she outwit the masked man who demands to be called “Master”? Or will he be looking for Venus Seven?

Detective Inspector Gravel finds himself floundering when a local nineteen-year-old university student is abducted and imprisoned by a sadistic serial killer who has already tortured and killed at least five young women.


My review…

I was a huge fan of White is the Coldest Colour which was the first book written by John Nicholl so I was very intrigued to hear that he had written a serial killer chiller and was keen to see how these new characters would make me feel as I absolutely hated the main character of the child psychologist in his previous books. And I’m pleased to say that once again there is a vile and nasty predator out to deceive the police and the public.

When Emma Jones is taken by her kidnapper, I really felt physically sick! The way in which he struck whilst she was unawares and asleep in her own Cardiff apartment was just full on creepy!!!! And I had been already traumatised by the clown mask on the front cover-what is it about clowns that makes us so scared!!?? When she wakes up she is still cover in blood from trying to fight him off but other than that she is naked. But what worries her more is the five portraits of girls on the wall, girls who look just like her. Her abductors obviously has a type but Emma thinks she may recognise his voice, has she met him before? And will her plan to be as submissive as possible save her?

I just loved the investigating team of DI Gravel and DS Rankin. They were down to earth and there were flashes of Welsh humour in their old fashioned policing procedures in the days before political correctness as they got stuck into the investigation. But will they be in time to save Emma from becoming portrait number six?

John Nicholl has created a very chilling killer here and he really did make my skin crawl! I did work out who was carrying out the murders but that didn’t stop me being shocked by some of the twists and turns of the plot. And that ending!! I actually read this book in one whole sitting as I couldn’t bear to put it down until I found out what was going on.

I would like to thank the author for sending me a review copy of his book in return for an unbiased review.

Portraits of the Dead: A gripping serial killer thriller is available to buy from Amazon UK from 1st September 2016

About the author…

John Nicholl’s debut novel: White is the coldest colour, a chilling dark psychological suspense thriller, draws on the author’s experiences as a police officer and child protection social worker. The novel entered the Amazon UK top 100 bestsellers chart after just 15 days, and became one of the 25 most read books on Kindle, reaching # 1 in British Detectives and Vigilante Justice. It also reached # 1 in British Detectives and Psychological Thrillers in France, # 1 in British Detectives and Psychological & Suspense in Spain, and # 1 in British Detectives and International Mysteries and Crime in Australia, where it reached # 10 of all books in the Kindle store. The gripping sequel: When evil calls your name, was published on the 31st of December 2015, and quickly reached # 1 in Biographies and Memoirs of Women in the UK, # 1 in Biographies and Memoirs of Criminals and International Mysteries and Crime in Australia, and # 1 in Violence in Society in the USA. Portraits of the dead, a gripping serial killer thriller, is available for pre-order from the 14, August 2016, with a 1st of September release date.






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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.

10 thoughts on “Portraits of the Dead by John Nicholl”

      1. Sounds like my kind of thing – I am just going to have to learn to read faster 😊
        Great review, by the way. When it’s something that interests me and I can ‘feel’ the reviewers excitement for the book I know it’s one I need to read!

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