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Only the Dead

Only The Dead A sinister game of revenge by Malcolm Hollingdrake Bloodhound Books Mystery & Thrillers Pub Date 20 Nov 2016


Only the Dead is an interesting police procedural, differing from the norm in that for one of the two cases you already know the culprit. More than that, you sympathize with him despite his terrible acts. His mother was tormented and killed by her carers. His acts are retribution, designed to draw attention. But this plot line is only part of what DCI Bennett and DS Owen are investigating in Only the Dead. Their second case begins with the discovery of two sets of infant remains near a teacher training college. The question of whose children and how they came to be there, lead Bennett and Owen on a complex and twisting trip. Once again, Malcolm Hollindrake reveals the culprits to the reader, but this time the situation is more complicated and explored slowly. Bennett and Owen are a solidly developed team of investigators. I found it interesting that Hollindrake decided to saddle Bennett with Bell’s palsy, a temporary condition characterized by partial facial paralysis. It’s definitely a setback for a ladies man.

On the whole, Only the Dead is a good, solidly written British police procedural. There are a few weak points, and the novel lacks a just resolution to the larger criminal scheme broached by the second case. Is it realistic? Yes - but readers who expect justice and closure may be disappointed.

4 / 5

I received a copy of Only the Dead from the publisher and in exchange for an honest review.

— Crittermom


Meet DCI Cyril Bennett, a man with a passion for manners and efficiency, as well as an eye for the ladies. His partner, DS David Owen, is naïve and untidy but keen. Together they make a formidable pair. When the discovery of two infants’ bodies is made at a Teacher Training College, Bennett and Owen are given the case. Soon a number of suspects are identified. At the same time, a killer is on the loose staging attacks using sulphur mustard. Is there a link between the infants’ bodies and the sulphur mustard attacks? Do the answers lie in the past or the present? Bennett and Owen must work together to bring to justice a killer with revenge on his mind.

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