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WOMAN MURDERED: Domestic Suspense


Loved it! 😍

A good domestic suspense thriller easily worth four stars.

The book is steeped in wickedness; the dark side of human nature is present throughout. Avarice, hypocrisy, snobbery, prejudice, betrayal, and plain old cruelty: all are prevalent and mainly targeted at a thirteen year old boy who is defended only by his mother’s love and her determination to do the best for her son.

The odds against the boy’s mother are long. Her son is autistic. To be more precise, he suffers from Asperger syndrome and is obsessed with violent video games. Worse yet, he stands convicted of patricide, with a suspended gaol sentence hanging over him pending the outcome of treatment by an ambitious female psychologist specialising in animal therapy.

The setting is California’s sunshine coast, nearby a popular but dangerous surfing spot – to which the boy and his mother have recently moved – where seriously big waves roar beneath seriously high cliffs. 

The opening is gripping. A young surfer is pinned down thirty feet below the surface by a fold in a monster wave. He’s as good as dead when something pushes him to the surface. He thinks it’s a shark, thinks he’s about to be eaten, but when this doesn’t happen he imagines it might be a dolphin. But no, it turns out his saviour is a floater. A bloated gas filled corpse. This might seem a touch unlikely but knowing little of such matters I make no criticism.

The corpse proves to be that of an elderly lady, a local; well known if not for her gracious manners, and undeniably well off. Marks on the body pretty much prove she was murdered, pushed off the top of the cliffs and in the investigation that follows the thirteen-year- old Asperger’s sufferer becomes a prominent suspect. There’s no direct evidence but he has been convicted of killing his father and he likes violent video games. In no time at all a full blown witch hunt is on.

The book is well researched and well written with good characterisation and an agonising but generally feasible plot. As for the outcome, that’s not for me to tell. But I will say this: close to the end, the finale of which is perhaps just a touch too poignant for my taste, there comes a truly enormous shock.

Woman Murdered is a good domestic suspense thriller, easily worth four stars.

Reviewed by

Donald Barker is British. He likes to spend winters in the Far East, in particular Mainland China, and summers in the U.K. He is the author of four novels, two of which are self-published. He reviews virtually every book her reads whether purchased or presented to him by the author.


About the author

I'm a medical social worker with expertise in neurodiversity and domestic violence. My MSW is from the University of Southern California, and I have a creative MA in film and television from San Francisco State. My plays have been produced, and my award-winning non-fiction is published in lit mags. view profile

Published on April 15, 2018

Published by

60000 words

Genre: Thriller & Suspense

Reviewed by