**Preorder the new novel from Alastair Gunn now!**
The fourth thrilling novel featuring DCI Antonia Hawkins is full of the occult, mystery and murder . . .
Nobody remembers the young men entering the abandoned London flat a few weeks ago. Nobody cares if they left.
Until the unbearable smell of decay.
DCI Antonia Hawkins is called in to view the dead men; three, lying neat in a row. There's no damage to the bodies, no obvious cause of death. Is this a suicide pact? Or is that just how it's meant to look?
But Hawkins soon discovers the link between the three men. They had all been fascinated by the supernatural and the occult. And they had recently met in a tiny village just outside London.
A village named Cold Christmas . . .
About the Author
Alastair Gunn is an experienced magazine journalist. The Advent Killer was his first novel in the series featuring DCI Antonia Hawkins, followed by My Bloody Valentine and The Keeper, which was published in April 2017. Alastair lives in Hertfordshire with his fiancée, Anna.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The book grabs you right from the start with Joel’s terrifying, claustrophobic fight for survival. You cannot see his assailant, but know that the assailant is there, hear him speak. Why Joel is in this situation (What situation? Where are they?), and what the assailant wants, come clear only near the end of the book. So, a great start, an intriguing and escalating case involving unmarked corpses and the police, initially, clueless, with red herrings abounding. The writing is very good at setting very atmospheric scenes: “Amala moved straight ahead into an unfurnished lounge, where the odour’s intensity kicked again, going from playful assault to brick-in-the-face”; “Layers of dirt encrusted every surface, damp slowly conquering ancient paper that hung off the walls, creeping in dirty curls towards the floor”. And later: “Rain had started falling in misty sheets, and now the wind picked up, sending it pattering against the crooked, decaying headstones lining the perimeter, and sweeping its icy spray against her cheek, drowning the stillness, as if the elements knew this place had something to hide”. There is an overwhelming feeling of cold and dread throughout the book – superb ambiance for a chilling crime novel. Why only four stars? One problem I had was the title – “Cold Christmas”. Nothing to do with the festive season, it is the creepy church that plays a big part in the story. It should be a great title – only I could not get Mud’s “Lonely this Christmas” out of my head – which sort of spoilt the intended effect. A more serious (and less personal) problem I had, was the amount of time spent on the flagging relationship between the main protagonist, DCI Toni Hawkins, and her fiancé, Mike. It seems almost obligatory nowadays for the policeman running an enquiry to have a troubled home-life. But, I felt this threatened to overshadow the story. In a crowded world of crime novels, this story manages to find a fresh approach. It is definitely worth reading, but for me, let down by the excessive focus on Toni’s romantic state, which did not add much to the story. I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Just like the other books in this series, "Cold Christmas" is a dark story. Antonia Hawkins is not all cuddle and fluff. She has mental problems and is driven to the extreme to not be seen as less than her male colleagues. The story starts off with Joey being confined and not knowing what happened and where he is. Antonia throws herself into the investigation and is slowly making progress. Everything is a little bit overshadowed of the problems mounting in the relationship between Mike and Antonia. There is a lot of focus on the falling apart of the planned wedding and that it's almost impossible to have a functioning home life for policeman/woman. But I was unable to stop reading and can't wait to read more about Antonia Hawkins. I chose to read this book and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin UK!