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WHEN THE DEAD SPEAK by Sheila Bugler

Updated: Jan 23, 2021

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Publisher: Canelo

Pub Date: 9th July 2020

Review Date: 6th July 2020


Secrets can be fatal. But so can the truth.

When the murdered body of Lauren Shaw is discovered laid out on the altar of St Mary the Virgin church in Eastbourne it sends a chill to the core of those who have lived in the area for a long time. They remember another woman, also young and pretty, whose slain corpse was placed in the same spot 60 years ago.

Dee Doran is as intrigued as the rest but focused on her investigation of the whereabouts of a missing person from the Polish community. The police weren’t interested but Dee’s journalistic instincts tell her something is amiss.

But as she starts asking questions Dee finds the answers all point to the same conclusion - someone is keeping secrets and they will do whatever it takes to keep them safe.

My Review

When the Dead Speak by Sheila Bugler is a twisty and addictive anachronic-style psychological thriller that drew me in right from the beginning. Narrated in third person, the present-day timeline focalises on the perspective of Dee Doran, an investigative journalist. What makes Dee’s character so compelling is not only how we see her struggling with what appears to be an impossible investigation, but also the problems she faces in her personal life. This is the second book in the series, and whilst the novel works as a stand-alone story, I'm itching to read the first book to find out what has gone on with Dee in the past. And now just when things are starting to look up for Dee, her relationship with Ed seems to take one step forward and two steps back. I loved both of these characters but at times felt like banging their heads together!

Ed is a senior detective, so when the body of a teenage girl is discovered at the local church, it seems logical that Ed would be part of the investigation. However, the case appears to be a copy-cat of the murder of a young woman who is linked to Ed’s past and he is quickly removed from the investigation. But is the murder also linked to Dee’s missing case? Dee seems to think so, but Ed thinks she’s being ridiculous. Who is right?

The past timeline has an epistolary-style narration and is told in the form of a journal left by Emma Reed, Ed’s grandmother. Emma has an incredibly sad story to tell and it is this deep level of heart-wrenching characterisation that explores exactly what it means to be human. This part of the story will leave you sobbing – so make sure you have plenty of tissues!

As the two timelines converge, and Ed faces the demons of his past, murders from both the past and present are solved - but whose? I guess you will just have to read and find out for yourself! And what happens to Dee and Ed’s relationship? Yet another strand of the story that had me sobbing! I need the next book in the series NOW!!

I would recommend this book for fans of Jane Corry, Cara Hunter, or Elizabeth Hill.

Literature Love Ltd does not give star ratings but only reviews books that it loves.

If a book is listed on our site it means that it is recommended.

Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for an Advance Review Copy of this book.

About the Author

Sheila Bugler grew up in a small town in the west of Ireland. After studying Psychology at University College Galway, she left Ireland and worked in Italy, Spain, Germany, Holland and Argentina before finally settling in Eastbourne, where she now lives with her husband, Sean, and their two children. Sheila adores crime fiction and has never wanted to write anything else. She'd be delighted to share her recommendations with you and to hear yours too. If you'd like to contact her, you can do so through her website or via Twitter: @sheilab10.

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