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  • Title: Paid in Blood (DI Matt Fisher 1)
  • Author: Susan Handley
  • Publisher: Self Published on March 10, 2021
  • Genre: Crime Procedural
  • Pages: 269
  • Formats Available: Digital
  • Rating: 4/5

Trigger Warnings: Murder, Graphic Violence, Drug Use

Many thanks to Susan Handley and Zooloo’s Book Tours for providing me with a digital copy of Paid in Blood with a request for an honest review.

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Paid in Blood Blurb

A dead celebrity loved by the nation.
A blind detective with something to prove.

When a well-loved celebrity is found murdered at a glitzy art event, DI Matt Fisher is faced with his first big case since being blinded in an acid-attack. Despite most people thinking his return to his old job is an impossible task, Fisher is determined to prove them wrong.

With his guide dog Luna at his side and the assistance of eager yet inexperienced DC Beth Nightingale, Fisher must find a way to see through the lies and expose a ruthless killer.

He’s had his fair share of bad luck in the past but has always managed to bounce back. Can he do it again, or are his days as a detective numbered?

Provided by Zooloo’s Book Tours for Tour Use

My Review

Susan Handley’s newest crime procedural series, Paid in Blood, provides everything a crime reader wants. You have a flawed main character with plenty of red herrings to keep the story moving along at a good pace. 

DI Matt Fisher is a former footballer turned detective after a career-ending injury. As if that injury weren’t bad enough, he lost his sight due to an unfortunate acid attack. Matt sits at a desk pushing papers around after the attack, but he wants to get back in the field. His luck changes when no one else is available to take over a murder investigation. It’s time for Matt to put his skills to work, but can he overcome his sense of self-doubt to get the job done?

I liked Matt from the beginning. He is quite down to earth, considering his past life as a famous athlete. Being blinded gives him another level of casualness. I understand his overwhelming feeling that he can’t get the job done but it became repetitive. I also would have liked for him to show more fire. He cowered when berated by his boss. Instead, I would like to see him fight back instead of keeping his anger inside.

Matt’s sidekick, Beth, is a lovely character as well. She isn’t perfect, but she comes into herself as the investigation goes on. Andy took the brunt of Matt’s anger. All because Matt thinks Andy is trying to take over. I’m not a fan of this scenario, but I do understand it. And, of course, we can’t forget Matt’s adorable guide dog. She’s adorable and works well with Matt. Though, I worried that he kept her in the car so often. I thought about the pup getting overheated, but as it turns out, I was right to worry about her.

I had fun reading about the rich and powerful people investigated for the murder of sweet Lucy.  I guessed the killer after a few chapters, but I still enjoyed reading through how it all came to be. Watching the investigation play out had me excited to keep reading. Though, the secondary crime seemed unnecessary to the plot. For me, it worked as nothing but a ploy to create an avenue to explain away a problem character.

There is something about this novel that didn’t quite sit right with me. It felt as though this is the second novel in a series. There are tiny snippets of information given about the acid attack. The reader has no idea how it happened, other than being heroic, which we only learn about later. A fleshing out of this plotline would be most welcome. Also, the hate Matt receives from his boss seems like a natural reaction due to his blindness. However, there is a sentence or two that add another layer to that relationship. This information was irrelevant to the plot of the book and again felt thrown in for no reason.

Even with the flaws that irked me, this is an excellent story. The pacing is perfect. You get just enough information to keep you wanting to keep reading, yet not so fast that you feel lost. I award Paid in Blood 4 out of 5 stars. If you enjoy crime procedurals, this is a great one to try.

4 Star Rating for Paid in Blood

About the Author – Susan Handley

Susan Handley Paid in Blood Author Image

Susan Handley grew up in the Midlands and now lives in a small village in rural Kent with her husband and two rescue cats, Charlie and Porridge (aka Podge). 

As a child, Susan devoured anything crime related: books, films, TV shows and even games (anyone remember electronic detective? – a game Susan professes to have been a whizz at). Although she had dreamt of becoming a pathologist like Quincy (one of her favourite shows growing up), Susan went on to study chemistry and went as far as getting her doctorate in it. Soon, however, she came to the conclusion that lab work wasn’t for her and went on to have a successful career in finance. 

It was during her time at university, on learning that her mother had finally read the complete collection of Agatha Christie’s classic crime novels, Susan bought a second-hand Olivetti and attempted to write one of her own, intent on giving it to her mother as a Christmas present. Susan readily confesses the end result left a lot to be desired but says it did whet her appetite for crime writing. Over the years that followed, she never stopped dreaming of becoming an author and after many years of writing at night she finally published her debut novel: A Confusion of Crows, the first of her books to feature one-time marine biologist now turned detective Cat McKenzie. She has written a further two novels in the DC Cat McKenzie mystery series. The second, Feather and Claw, sees Cat holidaying with a friend in sunny Cyprus, though things take a sinister turn after a fellow guest is found dead. In the third book of the series, The Body Politic, Cat investigates the murder of a local councillor but it’s the links to a member of her own family that leaves her wondering whether you ever really know anyone at all. 

Susan’s most recent novel is Paid in Blood, the first in a new series to feature DI Matt Fisher. DI Fisher was en route to being one of the country’s top scorers in football’s premier league until injury forced him from the pitch and into the police force. And it was working out well, until he put himself between a young woman and a terrorist brandishing a bottle of acid. Now blind, Fisher finds himself fighting to keep his job, so when a beautiful celebrity is found dead at a glitzy art event, he’s determined to figure out who did it and prove he can still hack it as a detective. 

In addition to the DC Cat McKenzie series, Susan has published two crime fiction anthologies: Crime Bites (volumes 1 and 2). She has also published a novella set at the height of the Californian gold, The Secret of Snake Pass, which is published under the name S.J. Handley. 

When Susan’s not indulging in her love of writing crime fiction she loves walking (the hillier the better), bike riding (the flatter the better) and tending her garden, especially her veggie patch. 

Author Contact Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

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