Monday 19 August 2019

Dead Man's Daughter: Organ transplant at the heart of a sinister crime

Crime: Dead Man's Daughter

Roz Watkins

HQ €14.99

Dead Man's daughter by Roz Watkins
Dead Man's daughter by Roz Watkins

Breda Brown

This is the second book in the DI Meg Dalton series penned by UK author Roz Watkins. Her first, The Devil's Dice, was shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger Award and has been optioned for TV.

This thriller is an equally gripping police procedural involving an extremely sinister case that really gets under the skin of our heroine Meg Dalton.

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The narrative opens with a 10-year-old girl, Abbie, running through the woods barefoot and wearing only a blood-soaked nightdress. The child has no memory of what happened, but when her father is found stabbed to death in their nearby home, questions are asked. Was this a robbery gone wrong, or could Abbie have carried out this gruesome murder?

Meg is not convinced the girl is responsible, but the evidence is telling her otherwise. When it's revealed that Abbie recently underwent a heart transplant, and that her behaviour has changed quite substantially since the operation, more questions arise. As the investigation progresses, layers of family secrets are revealed via a fast-paced plot that delivers a plethora of twists and turns that will keep you on your toes.

As well as dealing with a crime, this novel also addresses a range of ethical subjects that others might prefer to avoid such as organ donation, assisted dying, mental health and the minutiae of medical research. All are dealt with in a sensitive manner, making it a very thought-provoking and informative read.

Meg Dalton is an extremely spiky but thoroughly likeable character. With her quirky and unconventional ways, she is admired by some colleagues, not so much by others, and the book excels at portraying working relationships in a very realistic way.

While her impulsive personality often lands her in hot water, we are by Meg's side throughout this story, rooting for her as she works to get to the bottom of the mystery.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the next instalment in the series will definitely be on my 'to read' list.

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