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While She Sleeps by Arlene Hunt

Writing.ie | Book Reviews | Crime/Thriller
While She Sleeps by Arlene Hunt

By Mairéad Hearne (Swirl and Thread)

While She Sleeps by Arlene Hunt is published with Hachette Ireland and has been described wonderfully by Liz Nugent as ‘page-turning grit lit’.

Detective Inspector Elliot Ryan is back on duty following an incident that left him with debilitating injuries. His daughter has moved in with him to help him back on his feet but is frustrated by her father’s insistence that everything is ok. Clearly not sufficiently recovered to be back working, he refuses to take any more time out as he has a score he needs to settle.

Sergeant Nola Kane returns from suspended leave aggrieved and frustrated. Temporarily removed from Homicide she is put into Ryan’s division, which covers theft and burglary. Kane is angry. She feels betrayed by an ex-colleague and is sick of her life. She is also very much aware of the fact that she is twenty-six and still living at home with her mother. Ryan is pedantic and Kane is more informal. She feels suffocated by Ryan’s work methods, a man unkindly nicknamed ‘the fossil’ by other members of the squad.

When Jody Kavanagh is found by her ex-husband, early one morning, in a pool of blood, Ryan and Kane are sent to investigate. With life-threatening injuries she is taken to hospital and put in an induced coma. Nothing has been stolen and the husband denies all culpability. The only obvious thing missing is Jody’s mobile phone. There are cameras dotted around her house and, with the added security of a protective and well-trained dog, Ryan and Kane are left wondering who really is Jody Kavanagh.

Jody Kavanagh is a designer with a reputation that is well recognised. She socialises among the higher echelons of society and grew up part of a wealthy Irish family. All fingers point to her ex-husband as Ryan and Kane start to question her associates but Ryan is slow to jump to conclusions. There is something fishy about this case. There clearly is more to Jody Kavanagh than meets the eye and Ryan, with Kane, soon realise that there is something much darker at play here.

Ryan and Kane are both on shaky ground. Their personalities are polar opposite and, at the beginning, neither really understands the other. But as time passes, their bond develops and, with a little trust, they begin to work a little better together, unpicking the lies and the secrets of this complex case.

Ryan has a personal axe to grind with someone and, in his own time, is gathering information to finally put to bed some outstanding business. We get a general insight into his history and why he is the man he is today and I am hoping (Please Arlene Hunt!) that we have not seen the last of Detective Inspector Elliot Ryan. I would love to read a prequel to While She Sleeps, delving further into his early days in the force. He is a fascinating, yet troubled, individual.

Sergeant Nola Kane is brilliantly cast as a no-nonsense, say it like it is, impetuous character. She is the perfect balance to Ryan’s stilted and formal personality, together making a great team. They really have a brilliant dynamic that just works so I hope we see them together again in the not-so-distant future

While She Sleeps by Arlene HuntWhile She Sleeps is a highly enjoyable tale with plenty of red herrings that will leave you stumped on more than one occasion. A well-paced plot with a very authentic cast of characters While She Sleeps is a right cracker of a read and one I am very happy to recommend!

(c) Mairéad Hearne (Swirl and Thread)

Order your copy online here.


Arlene Hunt joins Catherine Ryan Howard and Andrea Mara in conversation with Paul McNieve as part of the Murder One Festival on Saturday 8th October 11am.

Let’s Twist Again: Catherine Ryan Howard, Andrea Mara and Arlene Hunt with Paul McNeive

Three bestselling authors known for their incredible twists discuss where their ideas come from, how much they plan and how they keep readers on the edge of their seats. Catherine Ryan Howard’s Run Time, set against the backdrop of a dark and disturbing horror movie is the latest of her award winning, bestselling standalone thrillers. Andrea Mara’s Hide and Seek reveals neighbourhood secrets with her trademark sting in the tail where ‘even the twists have twists’ (Lee Child) and after a string of bestsellers Arlene Hunt returns with While She Sleeps: from the shaky glamour of Irish high society to the cold heart of two broken families, Detective Inspector Elliot Ryan must work against hidden forces to solve a murder where nothing is quite as it seems.

Chaired by Paul McNeive, motivational speaker and author of Poison Sky

Tickets €12/ €10 plus booking fees BOOK HERE

Watch LIVE ONLINE: €5 plus booking fees book here.

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