Book Review: The Killer on the Wall by Emma Kavanagh

When Isla Bell is 15 she finds three dead bodies propped up against Hadrian’s Wall and a fourth person badly injured while on her morning run. Over the next few weeks more bodies appear on the wall, and Isla’s hometown of Briganton is filled with fear.

But soon the nightmare is over – Isla’s father DS Eric Bell catches the killer, Heath McGowan, and he is sent to jail.

Twenty years later, Isla is a Professor in criminal psychology and has chosen McGowan as a subject for her studies. Soon a new body is on the wall, even though the killer is still safely behind bars…

This book is really interesting, although you don’t truly appreciate what Kavanagh has done until the very end.

Kavanagh uses different characters to show different points of view, which really helps capture the fear and anxiety that as infected Briganton. Seeing and hearing the effects that the reawakening of the ‘Killer on the Wall’ case brings for different people really heightens your feelings towards the characters. As you read, watching the scars reopen for all of them is truly heartbreaking.

Kavanagh’s characters are well crafted. You completely understand why Isla has chosen her career path, and feel a kinship with newcomer DC Mina Arion who has only recently arrived in Briganton. More importantly, I found I really wanted them all to be okay. As the body count began to rise I was almost scared to turn the pages because I didn’t want Isla or Mina or the other residents of Briganton to become the next victim.

The narrative itself is well told, only near the beginning did I correctly guess what was about to happen. As the story develops Kavanagh’s experience in the police and her PhD in psychology really shine through. She weaves in the technical details of psychology seamlessly into the novel, resulting in an immersive experience for the reader. Her knowledge gives the story a great deal of credibility and it is this makes the book so compelling.

The Killer on the Wall is a wonderfully crafted novel. The attention to detail and the storytelling is spot on. Kavanagh keeps you guessing until the end, and the ending is worth the wait,



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