Too Close to Breathe by Olivia Kiernan


In a quiet Dublin suburb, within her pristine home, Eleanor Costello is found hanging from a rope.

Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan would be more than happy to declare it a suicide. Four months ago, Frankie’s pursuit of a killer almost ended her life and she isn’t keen on investigating another homicide. But the autopsy reveals poorly healed bones and old stab wounds, absent from medical records. A new cut is carefully, deliberately covered in paint. Eleanor’s husband, Peter, is unreachable, missing. A search of the couple’s home reveals only two signs of personality: a much-loved book on art and a laptop with access to the Dark Web.

With the suspect pool growing, the carefully crafted profile of the victim crumbling with each new lead, and mysterious calls to Frankie’s phone implying that the killer is closer than anyone would like, all Frankie knows is that Eleanor guarded her secrets as closely in life as she does in death.

As the investigation grows more challenging, Frankie can’t help but feel that something doesn’t fit. And when another woman is found murdered, the same paint on her corpse, Frankie knows that unraveling Eleanor’s life is the only way to find the murderer before he claims another victim…or finishes the fate Frankie only just managed to escape.

Engrossing, complex, and atmospheric, Olivia Kiernan’s debut novel will leave readers breathless.

Book Details

Too Close to Breathe by Olivia Kiernan
Series: Frankie Sheehan #1
Published April 3rd, 2018 by Dutton
Hardcover, 304 pages
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Women Sleuths
Source: Publisher
My Rating: 4 Stars


Book Review

Set in moody Dublin, TOO CLOSE TO BREATH is a gritty new procedural series featuring a well-drawn female detective whose past intertwines with the present as a serial killer is drawn out of what first seems a suicide case.

What I loved about this book, and what originally drew me to it, was the fact that it is a crime procedural set in atmospheric Dublin and features a lead female detective—one with a chilling past, as the main protagonists.

Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan makes for a fierce heroine. Tough-as-nails, Sheehan is just returning to work and lands what first appears to be a suicide case. Just four months early, Frankie’s pursuit of a killer almost ended her life. Now, as chilling clues and bodies begin to add up, she will have to face the possibility that there is a serial killer on the loose; one fascinated by her.

In the backdrop, a quiet picturesque-suburban town in Dublin awakens to a grisly crime scene, a woman found hanging from a rope. Filled with dark and ominous atmosphere, I was looking for suspects around each corner.  

I'm completely impressed with this debut. The way Kiernan weaves in the tantalizing flashback of Frankie's past and intertwines them around clues unfolding from her current case left me hooked. Detailed crimes scenes reveal a complex web of deceit as the killer twists and turns them.

In the End

A smart, flawed, and tough-as-nails heroine along with a chilling procedural mystery make for a page-turning read and an exciting new series.

Recommended for:

TOO CLOSE TO BREATH is perfect for readers who like twisty crime procedures with lots of dark grit and who are looking for their next favorite woman sleuth to follow.