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A Killer in the Family: The gripping new thriller that will have you hooked from the first page

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When Aisling Cooley discovers that her DNA has been discovered at a recent crime scene, the implication is clear. There were so many moving pieces, in fact, that it, in and of itself, felt wholly realistic yet also filled with nerve-shredding dread. However, when his sons succeed in the jailbreak attempt, the father brings along his cell-mate, a former two time kill.

Aisling Cooley is desperate to find her father, who disappeared years before, and she decides to send a DNA sample to an ancestry site, hoping that her father had done the same. Part of what makes this series so enjoyable is Jonah Sheens himself and the small team he has around him. I had so many different theories, but I actually hoped I wasn't correct, as I really liked all the characters involved. A Killer in the Family is the fifth in Gytha Lodge’s Jonah Sheens police series set in Southampton, but my first experience of the books and characters. As always with this series, Gytha Lodge balances the focus deftly between the police procedural part of the plot, in which the series characters DCI Sheen, DS Lightfoot, DS O'Malley and DC Hanson feature prominently, with a storyline featuring new characters, in this case Aisling Cooley and her family.

This book is quite gruesome, but not at all glorified and ultimately it’s the storytelling that is memorable. The chance mention of a name from her past prompts her to finally look through the boxes of photographs and papers she put aside in her spare room after her mother died.

The ending didn't thrill me because I'm not a fan of cliffhangers - and there are two gobsmackers here. This is a fast-paced, well-plotted police procedural which provides satisfying tension and the investigation progresses. A KILLER IN THE FAMILY has a bit of a slow start, but as the tension grows, as we wait for the results of the DNA samples from Aisling’s sons, and as surprises pop up, you will be glued to the pages. She studied English at Cambridge, where she became known quite quickly for her brand of twisty, dark yet entertaining drama.Even better, just when I thought it had all come to a head there were more revelations yet to be had. As the narrative shifts back and forth between the perspectives of DCI Sheen and his team-members and that of Aisling, long-held family secrets are revealed and lies uncovered.

It’s Detective Chief Inspector Jonah Sheens who’s chasing the Bonfire Killer, who might be Aisling's father. Aisling Cooley, a single mother, uploads her DNA to an ancestry site to locate her father, but what she finds is a detective knocking on her door advising that the DNA is closer related to a homicide he is working.Given the marked similarities between the cases, police, led by DCI Jonah Sheens, come to the reluctant conclusion that there's an active serial killer at large - a criminal who the press quickly dub "The Bonfire Killer" - and that other women may be at risk.

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