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The Dead Ground by Claire McGowan..

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The Dead Ground, Claire McGowan


A stolen baby. A murdered woman. A decades-old atrocity. Something connects them all…

A month before Christmas, and Ballyterrin on the Irish border lies under a thick pall of snow. When a newborn baby goes missing from hospital, it’s all too close to home for forensic psychologist Paula Maguire, who’s wrestling with the hardest decision of her life.

Then a woman is found in a stone circle with her stomach cut open and it’s clear a brutal killer is on the loose.

As another child is taken and a pregnant woman goes missing, Paula is caught up in the hunt for a killer no one can trace, who will stop at nothing to get what they want.

The Dead Ground will leave you gasping for breath as Paula discovers every decision she makes really is a matter of life and death…


First of all a massive thank you to Headline Publishing for providing me with a copy of this book! This is the first Claire McGowan book I’ve read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The Dead Ground is a sequel to McGowan’s The Lost and it is a series which follows the journey of forensic psychologist Paula Maguire. I didn’t realise I was reading the sequel until I was already two chapters in. However, Claire does a good job of explaining what happened in the previous book so I wasn’t left feeling confused. This book can be read as a stand-alone but if you like reading things in order, then I recommend you read The Lost book first.

The plot of the book revolves around Paula and her team trying to locate a killer who is stealing newborn babies and murdering pregnant women. There are few sub-plots that run throughout the book which mostly revolve around Paula’s own decision on whether or not to stay pregnant and the mystery behind her mother’s disappearance.

From the get-go I found Paula to be quite independent, resilient and responsible. The dilemmas that she faces were quite realistic to what an average woman who isn’t ready to be a mother would face. To that extent I could empathise with her. Also, Paula does seem to be stuck between two men whom she cares for but at the same doesn’t know if they’re worth it and the irony comes when the father of her baby could be either of these two.

The subject matter in the novel is quite sensitive and just from reading the prologue I found myself quite disturbed because of how grotesque it actually seemed. However, I do firmly believe that Claire dealt with the subject as best as possible and that the events that unfold are necessary for the plot of this book.

The pace of the book is quite slow. I usually like a crime novel to have a lot of action and to be quite fast paced. For me this book wasn’t as fast paced as I thought it would be. Nevertheless, the different twists and turns in the story kept me fully engaged until the end. Also, there are a few things that are left unclear at the end but I’m hoping that’s because Claire is gearing up for a few more books in this series.

If you’re a crime/thriller fiction fan then I would definitely recommend this book. Claire took me on a roller coaster of a journey and I absolutely loved her attention to detail, throughout the book. It will definitely give you a fright, make you squirm and will leave a deep impact on you emotionally.

Overall Rating: 8/10

The book will be releasing on 10th April 2014, so in a few days’ time! If you haven’t read the first do read that too because I’m sure it will be as great as the second. You can pre-order The Dead Ground or purchase The Lost from the following places:

You can also follow Claire on twitter here:

Or if you would like to find out more about Claire’s books, you can check out her website here:


2 responses »

  1. I love mysteries, so that sounds really good!


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