Category Archives: Splinter in the Blood

Review: Splinter in the Blood by Ashley Dyer

Title: Splinter in the Blood by Ashley Dyer
Carver and Lake Series Book One
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 400 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


A propulsive debut suspense novel, filled with secrets, nerve-jangling tension, perplexing mystery, and cold-blooded murder, in which a police officer on the hunt for a macabre serial killer is brutally attacked, and only his partner knows the truth about what happened—and who did it.

After months of hunting a cold-blooded murderer that the press has dubbed the Thorn Killer, Detective Greg Carver is shot in his own home. His trusted partner, Ruth Lake, is alone with him. Yet instead of calling for help, she’s rearranged the crime scene and wiped the room clean of prints.

But Carver isn’t dead.

Awakening in the hospital, Carver has no memory of being shot, but is certain that his assailant is the Thorn Killer. Though there’s no evidence to support his claim, Carver insists the attack is retaliation, an attempt to scare the detective off the psychopath’s scent, because he’s getting too close. Trapped in a hospital bed and still very weak, Carver’s obsession grows. He’s desperate to get back to work and finally nail the bastard, before more innocent blood is spilled.

One person knows the truth and she’s not telling. She’s also now leading the Thorn Killer investigation while Carver recuperates. It doesn’t matter that Carver and the rest of the force are counting on her, and that more victims’ lives at stake. Ruth is keeping a deadly secret, and she’ll cross every line—sacrificing her colleagues, her career, and maybe even her own life—to keep it from surfacing.

Utterly engrossing and filled with masterfully crafted surprises, Splinter in the Blood is a propulsive roller-coaster ride, filled with deception, nerve-jangling tension, perplexing mystery, and cold-blooded murder.


Splinter in the Blood by Ashley Dyer is an absolutely brilliant police procedural that is quite riveting.

Detective Sergeant Ruth Lake and her partner Detective Chief Inspector Greg Carver have been working on a particularly sadistic and baffling serial killer case.  Over the course of a year, five women have been kidnapped, ritualistically tattooed and murdered then displayed in carefully positioned poses. The latest murder of university student Kara Grogan hits very close to home for Greg since the young woman closely resembles his estranged wife, Emma. Drinking heavily and obsessed with the case, he summons Ruth to his flat late one evening. Upon her arrival, she is stunned to learn Greg has been shot.  Following this shocking discovery, Ruth’s actions are inexplicable and leaves one very important question unanswered: why does she remove evidence from the crime scene before calling for assistance? And even more important, why is Ruth so unnerved when she notices that Greg is still alive?

As Greg’s partner, Ruth is not assigned to the investigation into his shooting. She instead focuses her attention on the serial killer case that has been dubbed the “Thorn Killer” due to method in which he tattoos his victims. Turning her attention to the most recent victim, Ruth meticulously goes over the case files and revisits Kara’s flatmates in order to ascertain her movements in the weeks before her death.  She also continues her research into the killer’s peculiar methodology of tattooing the victims with thorns. Upon conferring with expert Dr. Lyall Gaines, Ruth learns important information but he rubs her the wrong way with his superior attitude and somewhat heavy-handed attempts to turn professional relationship into something more personal.

Whilst Ruth continues working the Thorn Killer investigation, Greg’s recovery is slow and hampered by a head injury.  With only fragmented memories of the night he was shot, he is confused by his jumbled thoughts, possible hallucinations and troubling synesthesia which provides him the ability to “see” people’s emotions.  Greg is also undergoing grueling physical therapy which is needed to counteract the effects of the concussion and the short time he was in a coma. In an attempt to help him deal with the trauma and emotional component of his recovery, Greg undergoes therapy with psychologist Dr. Laura Pendinning.

Further complicating an already complex situation, a woman Greg has been involved with, Adela Faraday, has been found murdered. This raises several intriguing avenues for the investigation into the circumstances of her death.  Was Greg somehow involved with her murder? Or was he also a victim of the killer? Once again, Ruth is prohibited from working on the case but since she removed evidence that could identify the killer, she surreptitiously investigates Adela’s murder on her own. Will Ruth unmask the perpetrator? Or will she find evidence that Greg is in some way connected to Adela’s death?

Splinter in the Blood is a spellbinding mystery with a fascinating storyline. Greg and Ruth are multi-faceted characters with compelling histories that make them sympathetic and easy to like. The plot moves at a brisk pace as the investigations into the various cases steadily yield leads that demand further exploration. With clever twists, intriguing misdirects and plenty of red herrings, Ashley Dyer brings the novel to a dramatic, action-filled conclusion. This gripping debut is sure to be a hit with readers who enjoy well-written British police procedurals.


Filed under Ashley Dyer, Carver and Lake Series, Contemporary, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Splinter in the Blood, Suspense