Written by Natasha Cooper

Review written by Judith Sullivan

Judith Sullivan is a writer in Leeds, originally from Baltimore. She is working on a crime series set in Paris. Fluent in French, she’s pretty good with English and has conversational Italian and German. She is working to develop her Yorkshire speak.

Simon and Schuster
RRP: £7.99
Released: 5th July 2012

This is the first of NJ Cooper Karen Taylor series on the Isle of Wight I have read, having been a long-time fan of the wonderful London set Trish Maguire series. I still miss Trish and her wonderfully patchwork family. Now, though, I am excited about Karen and curious as to where her adventures will take this young forensic psychologist. 

Vengeance in the mind and in vicious practice claim the life of Dan Blackwater, a sort of Philip Green-Richard Branson-Bill Gates amalgam, with some George Clooney charm thrown in. There is nothing gorgeous about the way this guy ends up, butchered with strategic body parts set up for show.

Enter Karen and her sometime paramour Isle of Wight copper Charlie Trench. He recruits Karen – herself reeling from a bewildering break-up – to support the search for the nasties who went after this universally admired businessman.  Who was maybe not so much admired as envied?

Many of the plot points are (sadly) much too believable - addressing as they do people trafficking and the way in which the networks that support this slavery system operate. There are sickening stories but Cooper never crosses a taste line that would detract from the potency of the Vengeance in Mind story. 

The author deftly weaves together Karen’s personal Torn Between Two Lovers dilemma with the main Mack the Knife plot. I suspected the real baddy(ies...) from early on but this is not because of any lack of twists or turns or suspicions. I did not guess all of the reasons or wherefores and enjoyed reading to the end.

I look forward to meeting Karen again and to seeing how she resolves cases including her own Charlie versus Will situation.

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