A Killer in the Family (DCI Jonah Sheens: Book 5) by Gytha Lodge

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Random House, Random House Trade Paperbacks

Date of publication: August 8th, 2023

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Fiction, Mystery Thriller, Crime

Series: DCI Jonah Sheens

She Lies in Wait—Book 1

Watching from the Dark—Book 2

Lie Beside Me—Book 3

Little Sister—Book 4

A Killer in the Family—Book 5

Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | B&N | AbeBooks | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

A woman uploads her DNA online, searching for her father–but the man who contacts her is Detective Chief Inspector Jonah Sheens. From the acclaimed author of Little Sister, this endlessly twisty crime novel asks: What might a family do to protect or expose a serial killer in its midst?

When the police found the first body, left on a bonfire in the fields, they worried it had the hallmarks of a serial killer.

Now, as they find the second, they know for sure.

Panic about the “bonfire killer” quickly spreads through the sedate, suburban area of Southampton. Women are urged not to travel alone at night, and constant vigilance is encouraged among the local residents. But single mom Aisling Cooley has a lot to distract her: two beloved teenage sons and a quest to find her long-lost father, whom she hasn’t seen since she was a teenager growing up in Ireland.

After much debate she decides to upload her DNA to an ancestry website, and when she gets a match she is filled with an anxious excitement, that her questions about her father’s disappearance from her life might finally be answered.

But to her horror, it’s not her father who’s found her. It’s a detective.

And they say her DNA is a close match for the bonfire killer…

First Line:

Lindsay was laughing-really, genuinely laughing-for the first time in months.

A Killer in the Family by Gytha Lodge

A serial killer is on the loose in the English town of Southampton. With little clues to go on and DNA that isn’t in the system, the police are at a dead end. Until one of the DCIs suggests uploading the DNA to a genealogy website. Within days, they get a hit. But when interviewing the woman, Aisling, they have more questions than answers and must comb through Aisling’s past to find the killer. But Aisling is hiding a big secret that she hasn’t told anyone. How is Aisling connected to the Bonfire Killer? Will the police crack the case before the killer strikes again?

British crime dramas/mysteries (both televised and written) are a guilty pleasure of mine. I enjoy reading about how the police over there investigate crimes. So, I agreed when Random House approached me to read and review A Killer in the Family. I am glad that I did. This book was a twisty-turny mystery that kept me guessing who the killer was.

A Killer in the Family is the fifth book in the DCI Jonah Sheens series. You can read this as a stand-alone book. I suggest reading the first four books before this one. There were some references to relationships and previous books that I needed clarification on.

The main storyline of A Killer in the Family starts with the police search for the Bonfire Killer. From there, it breaks down into two main storylines. They are the police’s investigation into the killings and Aisling’s storyline. Both storylines were well-written and kept me guessing until the end.

The storyline detailing the police’s investigation into the killings was interesting. I liked that the author covered every aspect of the investigation and didn’t just keep the focus on the DCIs. She highlighted the CSI (not sure what they are called in England) and the lower-level investigators.

Aisling’s storyline was sad and a little confusing to follow. But that confusion has a point, and I believe the author intended to keep me off balance with this storyline. Everything that was revealed, from what happened to Aisling’s father, why she came to England, and what happened to her before her father left, took me by surprise. Put it this way, this storyline did not end as I thought it would, and I loved it.

Several secondary storylines seemed to have nothing to do with the main one. But, these secondary storylines are important in the second half of the book. They added extra depth and extra knowledge to the main storylines.

The mystery angle of A Killer in the Family was intense. The author kept me guessing who the killer was and how that person was related to Aisling. The author had red herrings everywhere in this book. I didn’t expect the killer to be who it was or the motive.

The end of A Killer in the Family was a little bittersweet. The author did wrap up the main storyline (the investigation and Aisiling’s) in a way I approved. But there were a couple of other storylines that weren’t ended. As for the very end of the book, I was shocked but not surprised. I saw what happened coming. I will have to read the next book to see how everything ended.

I would recommend A Killer in the Family to anyone over 21. There are no sexual situations, but there is violence and language.

Many thanks to Random House Publishing Group – Random House, Random House Trade Paperbacks, NetGalley, and Gytha Lodge for allowing me to read and review A Killer in the Family. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

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