Portraits of the Dead

Portraits of the Dead

by John Nicholl


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Emma didn’t know how long he hid in the large Victorian wardrobe to the side of her single bed. She didn’t know how long he peered between the two heavy oak doors, and watched, as she slowly drifted into fitful sleep. She didn’t know what time he pushed the doors open and crept towards her in the darkness of the night.

Detective Inspector Gravel finds himself faced with a difficult case when a local nineteen-year-old university student is abducted and imprisoned by a sadistic serial killer, who has already tortured and killed at least five young women.

Can Gravel find the girl and stop the murderer?

He will learn that the greater the evil, the deadlier the game…

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781912604548
Publisher: Bloodhound Books
Publication date: 07/09/2018
Pages: 244
Sales rank: 788,380
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.55(d)

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PORTRAITS OF THE DEAD 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
JBronder More than 1 year ago
Emma Jones wakes in the night to a strange man in her room. At first she thinks it’s just a dream but she learns quickly that he is quite real. The next time she wakes she is badly beaten in a locked room with a video camera and pictures of other girls that look like her. A voice tells her she is Venus Six and it is clear that she is not his first victim. DI Gravel is approached by Anne Jones saying that her daughter is missing. At first he doesn’t really think much about it until he realizes that she is not the first disappearance, Emma is the sixth missing girl. This killer has struck and already killed five other woman. It’s up to Grav and DS Clive Rankin to stop the Master before Emma becomes the sixth victim. I read A Mind to Kill, book two in this series and couldn’t wait to catch up on what I missed. This is a great, dark thriller in which you learn who the killer is but you don’t realize what kind of sicko you are going to be messing with. Grav and Clive are a great pair and work together really well and are on a race against time. But I have to say the story with Emma and the Master caught my attention more. I guess I’m just one of those people. Of course the ending was a complete shock. Talk about thrown me for a loop, I was NOT expecting that. I’m glad that I have read the second book in this series. But I hope book three will be out soon. I can’t wait to read more on Grav, Clive, and the next serious messed up sicko John Nicholl can come up with. I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
booklover- More than 1 year ago
Emma doesn't know where she is. Emma doesn't know who took her. Emma doesn't know why she was chosen. Emma does know she's scared, she's in pain, and he's never going to let her go ... at least not alive. He calls her Venus 6. He orders her to call him Master. And he wonders .. is she the one? DI Gareth Gravel and DS Clive Rankin are investigating Emma's disappearance. At first glance, she looks like a 19-year-old college student, most likely traipsing out yonder with a boyfriend. But Emma's mother is absolutely insistent that her daughter would never do that. Gravel practices due diligence and speaks to Emma's housemates and discovers that she had had a stalker of sorts. An old bearded, gray-haired man had seemed to be following her. Rankin takes on the university and her professors. No one knows anything, no one has seen anything out of the norm. But then 5 bodies are found in various stages of decomp. All are missing parts of their bodies and when finally identified, they all resemble the missing Emma. And so begins the hunt for one of the most sadistic, brutal, cold-blooded killers I've had the pleasure of reading. The author's pen has brought this human monster to life... a monster that we hope is only fiction. This is an extremely well written psychological thriller. After reading this author's first two books, I expected nothing else. The characters are drawn with fine precision. The story line is such that the reader cannot put the book down until the very end. About half way through the book is quite a twist ... one I certainly never saw coming. The ending is quite intriguing, a cliff hanger of sorts. Normally I do not care much for cliff hangers, but this one has whetted my appetite for the follow-up book. Many thanks to the author / Bloodhound Books / Netgalley for the advanced copy of this riveting book. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.
readers_retreat More than 1 year ago
This was an outstanding read. I haven't read either of Nicholl's previous two books featuring down-to-earth, take no prisoners DI Gareth Gravel but plan to now as this was such a fabulous book. I hope the others prove to be as compelling - I have been assured by friends that they are! Also, a quick sentence about the cover art - wow, it's creepy and fits the synopsis perfectly. From beginning to end 'Portraits of the Dead' held my interest and if you, like me, find disturbing, creepy and sadistic serial killer thrillers a joy to behold then give this one a go! I can't see how you could be disappointed. I found the pace to be impeccable te whole way through and there was plenty action too. DI Gravel is put on the case of an abducted girl and knowing that the killer has murdered five times before, he is in a race against the clock to save Emma from the same fate. Nicholl's characterisation is great and you easily feel a connection to each character. There are also a few key twists including at the end which I didn't predict. Nicholl knows how to captivate you and pull you into the story from the first pages. His books are definitely not for the feint-hearted! I have no hesitation in recommending this book especially for those who enjoy police procedurals and stories that centre around a serial killer. Impactful, deliciously dark and very sinister, this book is a winner and deserves the full five-stars. Many thanks to Bloodhound Books for an ARC. I was not required to post a review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
JerseyGirlBookReviews More than 1 year ago
In Portraits Of The Dead, author John Nicholl weaves a riveting psychological thriller that easily draws the reader in with its dark and gritty stroryline that follows the abduction, imprisonment, and cruel tormenting of nineteen year old college student Emma Jones by a depraved serial killer, and the intense investigation by Detective Inspector Gravell and Detective Sergeant Clive Rankin to find and save Emma before she suffers the same fate as five murdered young girls before her. This captivating and gritty tale is rich in detail and vivid descriptions, and has intriguing and suspenseful twists and turns that leaves the reader with no other option then to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next. As a diehard fan of psychological thrillers, I must admit that this story exceeded my expectations. The dark intensity of the storyline and the tension between the serial killer, Emma, and the investigators kept me thoroughly riveted and so engrossed, I literally had to finish the story in one sitting. With a complex and realistic cast of characters, the author does a phenomenal job of delving into the mind of a serial killer who is seriously demented, a courageous young girl who is determined to survive, and police investigators who are determined to save the girl and bring the serial killer to justice. The author transports the reader into this fast paced white-knuckle storyline with his creative interweaving of a psychological cat-n-mouse game between the characters that leaves the reader's heart palpating while holding their breath until the surprise ending. It just doesn't get any better than this! Portraits Of The Dead is one heck of an adrenaline rush that is a must read for the true diehard psychological thriller junkie! Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review.
Vicki_Goodwin More than 1 year ago
I have come to expect severe psychological depravity when I read John Nicholl's books. This book did not disappoint in that aspect. The evil kidnapper has taken and killed at least five other women before he took Emma. Emma is held in a darkened area without knowing day from night, hours from days and days from weeks. He insisted on servitude from her while he tortured her and taunted her. It was chilling and sickeningly fascinating. John Nicholl has a history of working as a social worker and uses the terror he faced in that career in his own stories. While Detective Inspector Gravel searched for Emma not knowing if she was alive or dead. Reaching out to the serial Killer while looking for few clues. With trusting people listening to vague and erroneous clues, the police struggle to find this serial killer.This book is intense. It is just so cold and creepy. I read it on Halloween and was then a little nervous about being out and about at night with the little trick or treaters. It was just that good.
DiiMI More than 1 year ago
University, a time for young adults to spread their wings, to hold themselves accountable for their actions and hopefully it is in an environment that feels safe. As excited as the young adult is to get away from home, their parents can only worry that something vile won’t happen to their child. But it did happen to Emma’s parents, their worst nightmare came alive the day their daughter was abducted. As devastated as they felt, what was truly happening to Emma is beyond anything a sane adult could conjure. She has become the slave, the plaything and victim of a twisted monster. Beaten, locked away, tortured and dehumanized, Emma barely clings to any hope of rescue and almost prays for death….almost…but the portraits of the girls that came before her are begging for revenge...against The Master. Meanwhile, dedicated Detective Inspector Gravel and his team search for clues, anything at all that may lead to finding Emma, hopefully still alive, hopefully not damaged beyond repair. What their inquiries lead to are the graves of other young victims, mutilated and decomposing and they all have similarities to Emma. Is it someone she knows, an old lover, a stalker looking for someone that looks like her? Heroes will die in the search for Emma and nothing concrete will arise, as law enforcement works around the clock and the sands of time and sanity run out for Emma… John Nicholl has dredged up a nightmarish tale that could be all too real in his latest dark piece, Portraits of the Dead. His bold writing and attention to even the smallest of details will bring every scene to life. You will cringe, shudder and want to cry for the Hell one girl must endure. You may even feel rage for the reporters who see a sensational story, not a human in desperate need of saving, I did. It was all too real, all too horrific. That said, this proves that John Nicholl has got the chops to deal out riveting reading that feels alive on every page. I received this copy from John Nicholl in exchange for my honest review.