Dr Jocasta Hughes is faced with a gruesome series of murders which leave the remains of the victims twisted and charred. The hunt heats up for the arsonist, and so does Jo’s relationship with the exasperating DI Miller. A chilling mystery with lead characters you want to spend more time with, and a murderer you definitely want to avoid.
Body Heat was published on the 24th May 2018 by Crime Scene Books. Many thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Through My Letterbox for inviting me onto the blog tour and to the publisher for my copy of the book for this review.
Body Heat definitely wasn’t what I was expecting but that isn’t a negative – just that it is a different type of crime read than I am used to. The pace is slower but still draws the reader into Dr. Jo Hughes’ life and her fascination with helping the police out in more than just her capacity as Forensic Medical Practitioner which results in her getting a little bit carried away at times.
This is actually the second book in this series however, if like me you’ve not read Dead Pretty this doesn’t hamper the enjoyment Body Heat as it is easily read as a standalone and any references to the last book are covered to enough detail to bring new readers up to speed.
Body Heat opens with the brutal death of a young woman at the hands of an arsonist which makes for a very disturbing scene for Jo to complete the formality of pronouncing the victim as dead. Jo partners her role with the police alongside her part time position as GP at the local surgery – when the suspicion points to one of Jo’s patients with a history of arson, things start to get a bit messy for her and lines start to blur.
What I really enjoyed about this book was seeing the investigation from a different point of view and also, to see how the police doctor was brought in only at certain points and therefore her detail about the investigation is hazy and strictly on a need to know basis. What is a good by-product of this approach is that the reader almost becomes the investigator, pointing together the information that Jo is gleaning from people to try and guess who the killer is.
The little snippets from the killers perspective were a brilliant addition dotted throughout the book. The killer is certainly a chilling, disturbing and nasty piece of work.
Alongside the investigation and Jo’s role as a local GP, the author builds a brilliant network around Jo so we see different sides of her through her interactions with other characters. I thoroughly enjoyed the friendship that she has with Kate and certainly intrigued by the obvious chemistry between Jo and DI Miller. It was also interesting to see Jo’s working relationship with colleagues at the surgery, most of which are desperate for Jo to leave her role with the police and take up a partnership full time – however Jo isn’t ready for that level of commitment and is too intrigued by the police work to walk away.
I enjoyed this read and the slower pace of narrative – although this certainly ramps up towards the end into a brilliant conclusion!
Candy Denman is a Crime and TV script writer of programmes such as The Bill, Heartbeat and Doctors. Author of the Dr Jocasta Hughes crime series set in Hastings.