Eight killers. One house. And the almost perfect murder…
Feared by the people of Sheffield, Starling House is home to some of Britain’s deadliest teenagers, still too young for prison. Now the building’s latest arrival, Ryan Asher, has been found brutally murdered – stabbed twelve times, left in a pool of blood.
When DCI Matilda Darke and her team investigate, they uncover the secrets of a house tainted by evil. Kate Moloney, the prison’s manager, is falling apart, the security system has been sabotaged, and neither the staff nor the inmates can be trusted.
There’s only one person Matilda believes is innocent, and he’s facing prison for the rest of his life. With time running out, she must solve the unsolvable to save a young man from his fate. And find a murderer in a house full of killers…
Author Michael Wood has quickly gained a place among my favourite authors. And rightly so. The first two books in his DCI Matilda Darke series are just BRILLIANT. I really loved and enjoyed them both, so I couldn't wait to start reading the third one, 'A Room Full of Killers'. To tell the truth I was a bit doubtful whether the author would come up with an equally good book once again. But hey! Did he prove me wrong? Abso-freaking-lutely!! This book is FIRST CLASS!!
'A Room Full of Killers' can be read as a standalone, but I would still highly recommend readers to go through the series in the right order.
"We're hunting for a killer among killers here."
The author sets the story at Starling house, an eerie old building on the outskirts of Sheffield, used as a secure home for some of the most violent boys in Britain. The residents are all young vicious killers. Just hours after being transferred to this place, Ryan Asher, a convicted teenage killer, is brutally murdered. Within such a secure place and with continuous surveillance, how and when could this have happened? Who killed the new arrival? And why? It's up to DCI Matilda Darke and her team to find out.
A year and a half after her husband's death, Matilda is still an emotional wreck and she is still haunted by her failure to rescue young Carl Meagan from the hands of his kidnappers. Adding to her misery, the boy's mother has written and published a book about her son's kidnapping, attacking and blaming Matilda and South Yorkshire police. A murder at the most secure and controversial place in South Yorkshire could just be the final blow to her career if it's not solved and quickly. But from the outset, everyone at the house, including the staff, look suspicious and seem to be hiding something. What secrets are hidden within the walls of Starling House? How will Matilda find the killer in a house full of killers?
Okay, to say I was hooked by this book is a huge understatement. As always, the author's writing is superb. From the first horrific chapter to the last chilling sentence, I was totally engrossed by the suspense and I was kept guessing till the end. When I wasn't reading, I found myself thinking about it, visualising what happened at Starling House and trying to work out how it will all end, who could be the killer.
All characters are well developed. The author gives us a glimpse into the life of each of Matilda's team members outside their role in the police, making these characters even more lifelike. Those characters that feature in this book only are also brought to life with vivid, realistic descriptions. The author dedicates a full chapter to each of the inmates at the house. I think this is a great idea as it helped me understand better what they did and what kind of killers (monsters) we're dealing with here. But, what makes a child kill??
'A Room Full of Killers' is just that... full of killers, and murder mystery fans will revel in this book, trying to guess the killer's identity. Somewhat darker than the previous two, this amazingly brilliant book is the author's best to date, and that's saying something.
Needless to say, I cannot recommend this book and the whole series highly enough. With huge thanks to HarperCollins UK for a review copy which I voluntarily accepted to read and review.
Michael Wood is a proofreader and former journalist in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. He is the author of the DCI Matilda Darke series set in Sheffield. The third, A ROOM FULL OF KILLERS, will be released in February 2017. A short story prequel, THE FALLEN, is published as an ebook in December 2016 by Killer Reads at HarperCollins.