Biding Their Time by Emmy Ellis

Title: Biding Their Time (DI Carol Wren #1)

Author: Emmy Ellis

Published on: 21 March 2022

Genre: Mystery and Thrillers | Police Procedural

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Rating: 4 out of 5.

Sue, a mother of two, is murdered in her garden in the middle of the night. Sue always watered the lawn at 11pm. But on this fateful night, Sue ventured into her garden one last time before her throat was slit. Gary, her husband, is suspected of killing her. After all, Gary was quite handsy when it came to women and maybe he and his latest ‘muse’ decided to kill Sue so that they could live happily ever after…

But days later, another woman is murdered. Betty used to dance naked in the moors on full moon nights. But this full moon night turned out to be her last…

The killers are a father-daughter pair, who give in to their ‘bad boy’ and ‘bad girl’ personas often. DI Carol Wren gained fame when she brought a cult that abused young children to a full stop. The killer is aware of her fame… Will DI Wren catch the killer before it is too late?

Biding Their Time is the first book in Emmy Ellis’ DI Carol Wren series. Dark, gritty, bone-chilling and mind-numbing, fans of psychological mysteries (and thrillers) will love this book.


The story begins with Sue being stalked by her killer. Sue’s killing will be an act of revenge. After all, Martine’s (the killer) dad’s injury was caused by Sue’s husband Gary’s mistake. A new cutter was being demonstrated at the factory and the one in charge forgot to set the guard properly. When Martine’s dad Harry used the cutter, the guard was not in place and this resulted in Harry losing his arm. Gary was in the room at the time of the accident but he was busy with a woman…

Harry was let off with a pension and disabled paycheck. But the incident resulted in awakening his ‘bad boy’ persona. When Martine was born, he realized his daughter was just like him. The only one who was different was his wife Josie. Soon after the accident, Josie lost interest in him… and later, started seeing someone else. The father-daughter pair could not let that happen. So they taught Josie a lesson… Josie now lies in their hall, on a wheelchair, unresponsive…

Betty, an employee at Gary’s factory, is killed in the moor. DI Carol Wren wonders if there is a connection between the two murders. Gary is a grieving husband and the FLO (family liaison officer) was with him when Betty was killed. So, it is quite clear that they have a serial killer in their midst. But what might be the reason for these gruesome murders?

Biding Their Time has all the elements of a psychological thriller. From the beginning, it is made quite clear (to readers) that the killer is twisted. They do not think twice before killing – whether it is a human or an animal. The details can get pretty gritty so if you are not the kind of reader who likes gritty crimes, you might want to skip this book. Also, not recommended as a bedtime read unless you want nightmares!

As a first in the series, we have just the right amount of character introduction and the series-plot setting. I liked DI Carol Wren – she comes from a dysfunctional family and is still struggling to make peace with her past. But when it comes to solving cases, she’s the best. She and her partner DS Dave Waite share a bond. Dave moved into a flat above Carol’s when his marriage broke. Carol and Dave spend most of their time at the pub, drowning their sorrows with a couple of pints.

The story gets even murkier when someone named Guest makes an appearance. The Guest wanted Gary dead, not Sue. But Martine and her dad will do as they please. They want all involved in The Bad Time to suffer.

The only niggle I had with this story: I wished there was some kind of cat-and-mouse chase between DI Carol Wren and Martine. As a psychological thriller, the chase would have added a dash of extra mystery.

Overall, this was an engrossing read. I am looking forward to knowing what’s next for DI Carol Wren.

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