#BookReview of Heartlands by Kerry Watts @Denmanisfab @bookouture @nholten40 #booksontour #netgalley #heartlands

Posted March 23, 2019 by Zoé in Book Reviews, Reviews and Stuff / 6 Comments

Heartlands by Kerry Watts
Also by this author: Safe Home
Series: Detective Jessie Blake #1
Published by Bookouture on March 21, 2019
Pages: 290
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Call it mother’s intuition, but I knew she was dead the moment she was late home. As I listened to her phone ring and ring, that’s when I knew for sure. My little girl was gone.

Twenty years ago, Sophie Nicoll never came home from school. Days later her body was found in a shallow grave on a remote farm a few miles from her hometown. Two boys from her school were found guilty. The press called the boys evil. Sophie’s family wanted them dead. The judge promised they’d never walk free.

Two decades later and schoolgirl Shannon Ross has vanished from a small town in the Scottish Highlands.

It’s Detective Jessie Blake’s first big case since she joined Perthshire Police. Having recently arrived from London, Jessie lives in fear of people finding out about her past and her reasons for moving north.

When Shannon’s body is found in the river on the outskirts of Inverlochty, Jessie discovers she’s not the only one with something to hide. As the small community begins to crack under pressure, people begin to point fingers. And soon, the big secrets hidden within the small town are revealed – with devastating consequences.

This shocking crime thriller set in the dramatic Scottish Highlands will have you reading well into the night. If you like LJ Ross, Cara Hunter or Robert Bryndza, you will absolutely love this.

Today I welcome Kerry Watts to my blog, with my review of Heartlands. Be sure to also check out Sarah’s review @ Sarah’s Book Review

My Review

I have just this second finished this book and I had to come straight on here and try to formulate some sort of coherent review….erm that is not happening! I went into this book with an open mind, not re-reading the blurb or any reviews and MY GOD it paid off!!

Now there are a LOT of characters thrown at you in the beginning and it will take a chapter to get used to everyone and how they are all linked. But I loved it! It meant I had a huge pool of suspects and intrigue to go with it and I loved it! The story was not just told from a Detective or killer’s voice but everyone! However, until you got used to this, it was not always clear which year we were in, in each new chapter, until you had started to read it.

Right this second, there is nothing I can fault about this book. This book is so character driven, that it made me fly through it! I quite enjoy that you don’t get to know the ins and outs of each of the characters straight away and that they all lead the story.

You are getting insights to their lives, but only fleeting because each chapter and chapter break is a different character’s viewpoint as we witness how they are dealing individually to the case of the missing girl Shannon Ross. Everyone had a voice and it really did drive this story.

With so many characters in this book, there is so much going on in the book and I think this helped progress the story and enable me to fly through it. I did not get bored with hearing the same voice.

Not only that but we are taken back to 1996, where a girl Sophie Nicholls was brutally raped and murdered by 2 boys Daniel and Jack. I was forever trying to figure out how the stories were linked. When I did, it was the who I did not guess! Especially with red herrings that got thrown my way!!

I did guess who had killed Shannon, but it did not matter, as the events that were covered in the two week period the case covered meant more. Watching how one single act destroyed so many lives and uncovered so many secrets. Making you question how well do you know someone.

About 65% into the book, my heart broke. As a mum it makes you worry and it makes you want to hold that little person so much closer to you (despite their meltdowns!) and wrap them up in cotton wool. My eyes misted over, as there was so much raw sadness at this point in the book.

Not going to lie, I do not think I have picked my jaw up off the ground yet and I did use the words OMFG a few times! I need the second book….like right now….seriously!! Can this be arranged! You can not leave me hanging like this!! It is cruel!

I really can not wait to get to know Jessie in the next books, as we begin to learn more about her. She is focussed and determined and I love that and she was portrayed in what I thought was a realistic way with her own secrets of course.

I found the writing by Ms Watts so addictive and she had me hook, line and sinker (sorry poor joke! When you read the book you will know why!). I found it completely fast paced and action packed, never knowing what might happen next! I felt everyone’s reactions were portrayed in a way that you could envisage it happening! It was a roller coaster of a ride and a brave move to that paid off by giving everyone their own voice.

Told you this review does not make much sense doh!

Until next time xxx

So what has been said on tour so far?

Portable Magic says


Heartlands is the first outing for Detective Inspector (DI) Jessie Blake. From the first few chapters, it is clear that she is going to be an interesting character with many different facets to her life, although I felt the novel does focus more on the case that Jessie is investigating and the way in which the revelations that come out of it affect the victim’s family and the people living in her village. These relationships are really well observed and i could really feel the pain that Shannon’s family and friends were experiencing

Between the Pages book club says


Brilliantly written story which is fast paced. The ending is bound to shock you, a jaw dropper of an outcome. One I would not see coming in a million miles, a nasty twist! Unexpected. I am looking forward to see what will happen next in this series. A well deserved four stars from me. Highly recommend.

Stardust Book Reviews says


For a debut novel, I thought it was great!  The story was full of tension and suspense, and there was enough twists and turns within it to keep me wondering!  Whilst some may see the number of characters confusing at times, it did provide the storyline with a fabulous array of suspects, keeping me guessing for a lot longer than I would normally.  Jessie’s storyline was also left open perfectly for the next book where hopefully we will get to find out a lot more about her!  I would definitely recommend this one and can’t wait for book #2!

Shelleen’s Musings says


This book kept me so engrossed. I did have an idea who killed Shannon and I was right about that. This is a great book for a new series and plan on reading the rest when they come out.

Follow the rest of the tour here

Thanks to Noelle at Bookouture for the tour invite and the author for a copy of the book in return for my honest and unbiased review

About Kerry Watts

Kerry Watts was born and grew up in a small town in the East of Scotland where she still lives today. She is always writing and carries a little notebook and pen with her wherever she goes because at her age ideas need to be captured before they disappear.
Kerry specialises in crime fiction because she enjoys pushing the boundaries of what it is to be human. The nature versus nurture debate

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:


6 responses to “#BookReview of Heartlands by Kerry Watts @Denmanisfab @bookouture @nholten40 #booksontour #netgalley #heartlands

    • Zoé

      Thanks lovely. I just loved all the different character and it was just so singular with the police. She is great and I can’t wait to get to know her more x

    • Zoé

      Oh it realy is, I know a lot of people found all the characters difficult to get their head around at first but I think it made it into an amazing story!

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