The Devil’s Claw by Lara Dearman – Book Review

The Devil’s Claw by Lara Dearman – Book Review

The Devils claw by lara dearman

The Devil’s Claw
Jennifer Dorey Book One

Author – Lara Dearman
Publisher – Trapeze
Pages – 368
Released – 30th November 2017
ISBN-13 – 978-1409170280
Format – ebook, paperback, hardcover, audio
Reviewer – Nia
Rating – 3 Stars
I received a free copy of this book
Post contains affiliate links


Following a traumatic incident in London, Jennifer Dorey has returned to her childhood home in Guernsey, taking a job as a reporter at the local newspaper.

After the discovery of a drowned woman on a beach, she uncovers a pattern of similar deaths that have taken place over the past fifty years.

Together with DCI Michael Gilbert, an officer on the verge of retirement, they follow a dark trail of island myths and folklore to ‘Fritz’, the illegitimate son of a Nazi soldier. His work, painstakingly executed, has so far gone undetected.

But with his identity about to be uncovered, the killer now has Jennifer in his sights.

New one review devils claw

This book is the first in a series centred around Jennifer Dorey, a reporter returned home after a troubled stint in London. Her hope is to find some peace at home but discovers a pattern of deaths of teenage girls across five decades while researching an article for the local paper, she reports her findings to the police and helps them in their investigation to bring down a serial killer that nobody realised walked among them for so long.

This story weaves in local folklore and landmarks, which adds a layer of sinister authenticity to the killings. The landscape itself is a character in this book and you can almost hear the wind and sea while you read it.

The main character is constantly reminding us that everyone knows everyone else’s business when they live in a small community like Guernsey, but there’s not really anything to back this up as she doesn’t interact with very many people at all and those that she does don’t know who she is, and nobody has noticed the strange proportion of teenage deaths on the island. As this is central to the plot, I did find it frustrating.

The chapters flipped back and forth between the perspectives of Jennifer, DI Gibson and the memories of the murderer which gradually catch up with the current day. This isn’t a format that I’m fond of as I like to fully relate to one character and follow their journey through to the end.

DI Gibson was my favourite character of the bunch, a man who is doing everything he can to find a reason to keep on living after the death of his teenage daughter. Everything he does is tempered by his loss and he’s a better detective in some ways because of it.

In the end, I think The Devil’s Claw was the wrong choice for me – I’m a fan of crime thrillers in general but this book felt like a cosy mystery plot-line in a dark thriller writing style, complete with very short sentences, that I couldn’t come to grips with.

Reviewed by Nia

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About the Author

Laura Dearnan

Lara was born and raised on the beautiful Channel Island of Guernsey. She moved to the UK to study International Relations and French at the University of Sussex, after which she endured a brief career in finance before giving it up to be a stay at home mum to her three children.

A short course in Creative Writing at Richmond Adult Community College led to Lara studying for a Masters in Creative Writing at St Mary’s University, London. She graduated in 2016 with a distinction.

Having moved from Guernsey to Brighton to London to Paris to Singapore and back to London over the last fifteen years, she has now settled in Westchester, New York, with her family. The Devil’s Claw is her first novel and combines her love of Guernsey, myths and folklore with her obsession with crime fiction and serial killers…

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8 Responses

  1. Nikki says:

    The cover was so promising though! Bummer you didn’t fully enjoy it. I do like cozy mysteries, but I have to know that is what I am reading before I take it to task; otherwise you can be disappointed.

  2. DJ Sakata says:

    Sorry it was disappointing, that happens to us all.

  3. Randi says:

    Great review. It’s so frustrating when books aren’t what we expected.

  4. Terri A. Wilson says:

    You made an excellent observation about the character saying one thing but there is nothing to back it up.

  5. Allie Bock says:

    Thanks for the review. To bad you didn’t enjoy, the book looked and sounded promising.

  6. Great review, I am so sorry this book was really not for you. I hope your next read is a much better one. Thank you so much for sharing your awesome post.

  7. Heidi says:

    Great review! Sorry, it was disappointing though. Gorgeous cover!

  8. Megan @ Ginger Mom says:

    This one looks super intriguing and I am really liking that cover 🙂 Drew me in right away! Great review 🙂