Too Close to Breathe by Olivia Kiernan | Blog Tour Review @LivKiernan @riverrunbooks #TooClosetoBreathe


Published by Riverrun

ebook, hardback and paperback : 5 April 2018

336 pages

Source: ARC Review copy

My thanks to the publisher for the paperback copy to review and to Anne Cater for the invitation to take part in the blog tour.


|   About the Book   |



Polished. Professional. Perfect. Dead. Respected scientist Dr Eleanor Costello is found hanged in her immaculate home: the scene the very picture of a suicide.


DCS Frankie Sheehan is handed the case, and almost immediately spots foul play. Sheehan, a trained profiler, is seeking a murderer with a talent for death.


As Frankie strives to paint a picture of the killer, and their victim, she starts to sense they are part of a larger, darker canvas, on which the lines between the two blur.

Olivia Kiernan’s debut is a bold, brilliant thriller that will keep you guessing and leave you breathless.


|   My Thoughts   |


I have to congratulate Riverrun on their proof marketing for this book. It’s always a delight to receive #bookpost for review but it wasn’t just a book I received – some very interesting and unusual extras also accompanied it – a Post-mortem Report, a notebook and a pack of coffee called ‘Rio After Dark’ (see photos below).

When respected microbiologist and part time lecturer, Eleanor Costello is found hanging in her bedroom in Wicklow, it appears at first sight to be a clear case of suicide. However Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan is not convinced, and very soon the case is upgraded to that of a murder enquiry.

Having been very badly injured in a previous case, Frankie arrives back to the team and is raring to go – she even refuses the offer of chocolate cake, provided especially to celebrate her return! She is clearly someone who will not take any prisoners however she is also suffering flashbacks and trauma from that event, details of which are not given until later on. Other reviewers have commented that this threw them a little.  I too had to check that this actually was the first book and that I hadn’t missed a previous one. As the story proceeds, we do find out more about that case and how Frankie came to be attacked.

Olivia Kiernan has written a storming debut and has at its heart a forceful character. Frankie Sheehan is a trained forensic scientist and an experienced profiler but even she sometimes got things wrong. I wasn’t sure what I felt about Frankie. I felt that I should like her but despite her trauma, I didn’t find her particularly engaging. I don’t expect detectives to be cuddly bunnies but she came across to me as being too quick to assume someone’s guilt (and innocence) without having sufficient evidence to back it up and and also too quick with the cutting remarks, often coming across as the ‘mean-girl’.  Her colleague Baz however, I loved, and he was a more measured counterbalance to her tougher temperament and impulsive actions.

Too Close to Breathe is quite a complex story with a dark underbelly involving the private and unseen parts of people’s lives with references to sinister websites dealing with BDSM and death fantasies – all hidden in a part of the internet known as the Dark Web. There are some sadistic crimes being committed and it really does become a race against time to catch those responsible before they strike again. The way that all the threads linked up was very well done indeed. There were of course a few red herrings thrown in to tease the reader and all the way through I had my own list of suspects – some were considered, discarded and then considered again but, at the final hurdle, I was well and truly beaten.

This was a gripping and accomplished debut from Olivia Kiernan. I’m very pleased to see that there will be a second outing for Frankie Sheehan. The next book ‘The Killer in Me’ will be published in April 2019.



|   Author Bio   |


Olivia Kiernan is an Irish writer living in the UK and author of crime thriller, TOO CLOSE TO BREATHE. She was born and raised in County Meath, near the famed heritage town of Kells and holds an MA in Creative Writing awarded by the University of Sussex.


Author Links:  Website   |   Twitter   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads




Too Close to Breathe is also the Goldsboro Books ‘Book of the Month’ for April.  My signed and numbered limited first edition arrived recently, this picture doesn’t do it justice but isn’t it gorgeous with those purple sprayed edges.



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