Title: She Knew Her Killer (DI Claudia Nunn #3)
Author: Rebecca Bradley
Published on: 31 May 2022
Genre: Mystery and Thrillers | Police Procedural
She Knew Her Killer is the third book in Rebecca Bradley’s D.I. Claudia Nunn series.
The story begins with Harlow getting ready for the reunion. She’s in Sheffield and eagerly waiting to meet her school friends. Jay, Brodie, Ashanti, Chloe and Harlow were friends in school and they will be meeting each other after a gap of sixteen years.
Harlow wakes up early that morning and is just out of shower when she hears an impatient knock at her door. She puts on a robe and peeks through the looking glass. She wonders why this person wants to meet her at this time of the day. She allows them in and before she could say something, she feels a strap of leather tightening around her neck. In a couple of minutes, her world becomes dark.
D.I. Claudia Nunn is at the therapist when she receives a call from the station. She was face-to-face with a serial killer (Book #2 – Seconds to Die) and almost his next victim. Claudia barely managed to escape but not before killing the perp. Claudia feels different now – killing someone, even in an act of self defense changes a person – and takes psychiatric help to deal with her emotions. Her dad, Dominic – who also fought with the killer, seems to be taking it well. He doesn’t understand why Claudia is creating such a fuss over therapy and this annoys Claudia the most.
Claudia reaches scene of crime – the hotel where Harlow was killed. She interviews the staff and the hotel guests – including Harlow’s four friends. They say they have no idea what went wrong and who would have wanted to kill Harlow. Then, a witness (a hotel staff) tells them he saw Harlow and another woman arguing in the hotel lobby. On the CCTV footage, there is evidence of the witness’ statement.
None of the hotel staff or guests recognize the woman who argued with Harlow so her photo is sent to the press. Then they learn the identity of the woman in question and bring her for interrogation. They do not get anything out of her except ‘No comment.’ The next day, Claudia and her team are dismantled – orders from the higher management. Only three detectives – DS Russ Kane, DS Dominic Harrison and DI Claudia Nunn – are allowed to proceed with the case while rest of the team is shifted to a different case.
Claudia’s boss Sharpe is annoyed and so is Claudia. But Sharpe warns Claudia to be careful. Someone is trying to stop the investigation at any cost. This threat grows further when Claudia’s team finds themselves in the midst of violent attacks.
I absolutely enjoyed reading this gripping and nail-biting police procedural. Things take a turn for worse when the attacks become personal and Claudia and her team finds themselves at the receiving end of it. Corruption, no doubt, plays havoc on their investigation. The story alternates between present – Claudia’s investigation and past – Harlow’s final days.
What I missed though, is the other story. The one that involves Dominic, Claudia and her stepmother Ruth’s murder investigation. Though a serial killer was arrested for killing Ruth, in the previous book, we saw Tyler (the killer) tell Claudia that he did not kill Ruth. We readers were also made aware of the fact that Ruth’s killer is Dominic. He’s Claudia’s father and teammate. There is some bad blood between the father-daughter duo. Dominic did not clear his Inspector exams and never tried again. But he’s envious of his daughter’s achievements and this creates moments of hostility when they work together as a team.
Also, Claudia feels comfortable working with DS Kane than with her father – another reason for Dominic to feel annoyed at his daughter. In this book, we see Matt approach Claudia often. Matt is her ex-husband and feels he must protect Claudia – but she doesn’t like his interference one bit.
In She Knew Her Killer, the Complex Crimes Task Force is challenged – a game that they are destined to lose. But the task force does not take no for an answer, especially when one of their own is attacked. I love the way this series is developing. Samuel Tyler’s court proceedings start soon – which means Claudia will be overly stressed and things might turn upside-down if Dominic’s secret is revealed.
If you love gripping police procedurals with a mind-blowing twist, you might want to give Rebecca Bradley’s She Knew Her Killer a try.
Many thanks to Hanna and Joffe Books for the ARC. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.