Dead of Winter – Lee Weeks

Title – Dead of Winter

Author – Lee Weeks

Published – Dec 2012

Genre – Crime fiction

I chose this book from my TBR pile as when better to read a book set in winter than January. Weeks isn’t an author I have come across before but she has already published four crime titles, this one being a departure from the series she has been writing.

The book got off to a great start. There was no long introduction, it was straight into the action and the discovery of a woman’s body at a recently abandoned house. The initial results of the police investigation yield one important clue – a link to a cold-case from 13 years earlier. This was the brutal murder of a policeman’s wife and daughter and a female friend. Some of those involved in the original investigation are now in positions of authority and are reluctant to re-open this case and risk uncovering their past failures.

Rather than being a standard police procedural this is more of a “crime thriller” with the reader also entering the world of Callum Carmichael, the ex-policeman who some thought could have been responsible for the earlier murders. He is determined to take his revenge and manages to outsmart his ex-colleagues. This is a gruesome book with some unpleasantly graphic scenes – many of them involving Carmichael!

I liked the characters of the two main Police investigators and it made a nice change that in a pairing of a male and female officer there was no sexual tension. What a relief! DC Ebony Willis is a relative newcomer to the team and this is her first murder case. She has the traditional “dark past” although it’s not a secret, it is, however, something that colours her relationships and view of the world.  She’s partnered with DS Dan Carter, something of a lothario, but with a pregnant girlfriend and worries of his own. I’ve seen conflicting opinions in other reviews about how well that characters are drawn, but for me they felt lifelike without too much of the angst and navel gazing that some authors can overdo.

There are multiple points of view and in some cases we learn things from the villains or victims which I would have preferred the investigation to uncover.

I was disappointed that in the latter half of the book the plot and the editing seemed to deteriorate. I am used to reading the occasional proof copy and understand that there will be odd errors, but this wasn’t a proof and there were some glaring errors in both the text and the plot. In hindsight I also wonder if there were proper plot holes and technical errors in the police procedures. I’m not normally fussed by the detail but there were a few moments which made me go “really – they did that?”. These niggles disturb the flow and remind you that you’re reading a book!

Thanks to Simon and Schuster for the review copy of this book. You can see another review of this title at Emma Lee’s Blog. Let down by some glitches towards the end what started out as a 4 star read ended up with a more moderate 3 stars.

Score – 3/5



  1. I know just exactly what you mean about errors that pull one out of the story. Not even the most careful and painstaking editor is perfect and neither is anyone else. So errors happen. But yes, too many of them and one wonders.
    It sounds like a solid read for the most part though and I’m glad to hear it. And like you, I always love it when one can actually pair detectives of the opposite sex together and not include sexual tension. Good on Weeks for that.

    1. Thanks Margot. Was quite surprising to see so many errors & it is hard not to be distracted by them, although it did give me some laughs! It was a good read and avoided a lot of cliches the crime fiction seems to be peppered with. Curious to see if this will be the first of a series, which would be good news.

    1. I’d say yes if you like thrillers as well as crime fiction. Probably not a good choice if you’re a stickler for actual police procedures. If you get it I’d be interested to find out what you think!

  2. I have this one on my tbr list already, but this review makes me wonder if I should put it down the list further. I am really into Crime Fiction, my favorite genre. I just finished Blood Land by R.S. Guthrie, a really good Police, crime, suspense novel. I was pleasantly suprised and would recommend it. of anyone needs another good read! I will eventually get to this one, hopefully.

    1. Thanks for the comment Chandra – not come across Guthrie before. TBH this book is a perfectly good read – but I’ve come across a lot better crime books recently.

  3. Great read. I gave it to several freinds to read and they couldn’t put it down either. Everyone seems to loved it right to the end. Hope she writes more. Nice switch from her other 4 books. She is a good versatile writer. Refreshing reading in the “Thriller Section” these days.

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