I am honored to be a stop on the blog tour for the fantastic book by Lesley Welsh. Thank you very much to Bookouture and the lovely Kim Nash for the chance to take part in this tour and share my thoughts. I would also like to thank and pay my respects to Lesley Welsh’s family.
Title: The Serial Killer’s Daughter
Author: Lesley Welsh
Date of publication: June 14th 2017
Number of pages: 335
Charmer, liar, father… Killer.
Suzanne’s life changes forever the day she receives a visit from Rose Anderson, the woman who has been living with her estranged father, Don.
Don is dead, but Rose wants Suzanne to have his possessions – including a series of intimate diaries and a mysterious collection of photographs of women.
To Suzanne’s shock, one of the photos is of her friend Sophie, who died ten years ago in an unexplained and devastating fire.
But Don only met Sophie once, on an unsettling visit he paid Suzanne just days before Sophie’s death… So why did he have a picture of her?
Unable to let Sophie’s memory alone, Suzanne begins to dig into her father’s life. What horrors is she about to unearth in his journals? And who is it that’s out there, watching her every move?
Have you ever put down a book with a sense of relief? Not because it was a painful read, but because the darkness were so thick you felt the oxygen was starting to lack for you to breathe properly and you were starting to forget what the sun looks like? This is what happened to me with The Serial Daughter’s Killer!
Openings play an important part in how I welcome a book. Lesley Welsh had the book welcome me, not the other way around, with a cold and compelling start. This is when I knew I would not be able to leave this book alone. There was something in the mysterious and freezing scene that gripped me with its claws and I gave in, immersing myself right away.
Tonight it is my turn.
Suzanne had a cosy and comfortable life. Not so exciting, one of those suburban lives many people settle in. A marriage with ups and downs, a loving mother, and the heart and soul of an artist, she was living a simple existence.
That was before her father came back into the picture. I love complicated families and I am no stranger to heavy father/daughter relationships, but gosh this one was special! I felt right from the start but I could never have imagined the twisted and harrowing experience I was about to get in!
There’s something weird in getting a dead person’s belongings when you weren’t close to them and hear about their death five months later! Weird and exciting. It is bound to tickle your curiosity. It worked on me! Who wouldn’t open a box containing their father’s last proof of existence on this Earth? Except some things are better left in boxes! Those boxes buried in the garden. Better, burned on a cold night! Or sent to space!!
As those boxes make their appearances, we get memories and feelings from the past, and I couldn’t help drawing the blurred figure of her father in my head, slowly coming alive as I turned the pages and learned more. There was something off about him. I couldn’t help but sensing a sick feeling from the pages (even when reading on a Kindle!). We all carry examples of fathers, good or bad, but I couldn’t put this one in a category. There were contradictory emotions coming from him, or from his memory of him from his daughter that threw me off. I think Twisted, is the box he belonged to, and I quickly realized it was even more complicated than this when Suzanne came across pictures and notebooks filled with women… and what had happened to them.
I should immediately warn you I believe the author’s characterization of Suzanne’s father is so powerful you feel his presence everywhere, like an ominous shadow you can’t see but know deep down in your heart that is following you. Don Tyler is one of the strongest and most captivating protagonists I have ever encountered in a story. I often wished I could put him in a glass cage and observe him, have a clear view of his mind and what the hell could bring such a man to act the way he did. Then I wanted to dissect him to find where and when his genes or brain wires had gone wrong! And I scared myself with those crazy thoughts that were triggered by this man’s actions. Scarcely had I felt so strongly about a serial killer to the point I wanted to spill his guts and see how rotten he was!!! His death never takes away the influence he seemed to have on people, starting by Suzanne’s mother, or the woman he was living with, Rose. Alive victims of a monster.
Suzanne, just like I would have, needs answers, which I felt was totally natural. After all, don’t we all want to know where we come from, no matter how difficult to truth is to handle?
But then things took a turn I hadn’t seen coming and I was felt shaking my head in disbelief, having thought I had a good idea of where the story was leading me. In fact, I was completely, utterly, and absolutely lost. And frightened. Things did not add up, I couldn’t make sense of the events unfolding before my very eyes, I could not fathom the reasons behind the actions, I could only feel Suzanne’s helplessness and try to keep my heartbeat to stop going too fast! What had started as a slow and horrendous series of discoveries and raised questions turned into a thrilling chase and a frightening nightmare. The kind you wake up from covered in sweat and holding the sheet for dear life!
This book is like an old dirt road, full of bumps, twists, holes that send you up and down with the car, giving you waves of nausea with every turn of the steering wheel! You look into a peephole and you’re sucked into the most obscure scenes, and when you think it can’t get worse, you get a surprise. I’ll leave you to imagine whether they’re good or bad…
Suzanne is very easy to warm to. There’s an honesty in her heart, and it only takes a short while for the reader to take her side. I loved the balance between all characters, the author giving you just enough to know them without stripping them of some sort of fog, of mystery, that makes you wonder who they truly are and makes them so human. No one is an open book, and Lesley Welsh’s sharp pen turned words into multi-dimensional characters you can feel for, be angry with, or want to help. There are no bad and good boys and girls. Just people with their flaws and sides, and your heart and mind work together, emotions evolving as the story uses its characters in a clever and intense way that reminds you the world is grey.
This is not only the story of a man. It is the narration of what hell on Earth can do to so many people. I loved … Can the word “love” be a part of this review? I am not sure. I relished in the way every action of a single man had consequences on so many lives, and that with details, glimpses, and snippets, I was able to imagine it all, without needing to fully dive into every life touched by the devil. The author masterfully created a web of lies, blood, and horror, and birthed the awful spider which fed on them.
The Serial Killer’s Daughter is a riveting, haunting and twisted family tale, a nightmare written so gorgeously you don’t need to close your eyes to feel it, to live it.
Lesley Welsh sadly passed away in April this year. Lesley was born in Strawberry Field children’s home and raised on a notorious council estate in Liverpool. Later she moved to London where she studied English and Drama and worked as a freelance writer specialising in alternative lifestyles. Her articles appeared in Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Red, Bite, Time Out and many others before she established Moondance Media, a magazine publishing company. Her dark and compelling short story Mrs Webster’s Obsession was turned into a film. Lesley moved to Spain and sadly passed away in April.
Don’t forget to check out the different stops on the tour!