A Savage Hunger by Claire McGowan. Read January 2016.

By Book 4 in a series I can usually tell if I’m going to stick with it. In this case, the fact that I’m considering stalking the author until I get my hands on Book 5 might give you a clue.

“Alice Morgan’s disappearance raises immediate questions for forensic psychologist Paula Maguire…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.”

For the last third of this book I literally could not put it down. The intricately woven plot builds to a level of tension that’s almost unbearable. As usual with the Paula Maguire books there are some uncomfortable themes. Alternating scenes about hunger strikers in 1981 with anorexia sufferers in the present was particularly powerful.

As with most of the (very many) crime series I follow, I find the main characters’ personal lives at least as interesting as the crimes they investigate. However, Claire McGowan is more skilled than most when it comes to dragging my attention back to the main plot. A Savage Hunger is a gripping and satisfying read. Having said that, it’s Paula’s situation and the desperately hard choices she needs to make that have me waiting impatiently for the next instalment.

If you have yet to meet Paula Maguire and the rest of the cast of characters in Ballyterrin, Northern Ireland, I strongly recommend that you read the series in order, starting with The Lost. However, in theory any if the books could be read as a standalone.

Thank you to the publisher, via Netgalley, for the advance copy e-book to review.



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