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What Have You Done


What Have You Done

It is always a pleasure for a reader to pick up a newly published book by a debut author and find that it lives up to all expectations. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE does just that. Matthew Farrell neatly combines elements of the traditional and police procedural mystery genres to give the seemingly insatiable appetites of thriller readers a fast-paced tale that presents a new and welcome twist on the unreliable narrator theme.

Liam Dwyer is the book’s primary focus. With the help of his older brother Sean, Liam has overcome a difficult and extremely traumatic childhood to become a forensics specialist. However, his life is changed suddenly and irrevocably when he is called to a crime scene in a downtrodden, seedy hotel in the wrong part of town. The murder victim has been found hanging in a room with her mutilated body ritualistically displayed. Liam is stunned. He recognizes the corpse as Kerri Miller, a woman with whom he had a long-term affair that ended so he could reconcile with his wife, Vanessa.

"WHAT HAVE YOU DONE clips along smartly from the beginning but attains warp speed during its final third... This is an auspicious and remarkable introduction to an author from whom more is coming."

The manner of Kerri’s death and forensic evidence on the scene indicate a definite link to Liam. Unfortunately, Liam has no recollection or alibi as to where he was or what he was doing during the time period of Kerri’s death. He begins hiding and tampering with evidence with the assistance of Sean, who is a homicide detective, and Don Carpenter, Sean’s police partner. The aim of the cover-up is to determine what happened, and how. As the three men begin their own off-the-books investigation, separate from the official one, it appears that Liam did in fact brutally murder his former lover for the best and oldest of reasons.

Liam has some nagging doubts, though, and they are not entirely self-serving. His own research indicates that a series of other murders, preceding Kerri’s and similar in nature to hers, have taken place along the northeast coast. Is Kerri’s slaying the latest in a serial killer’s rampage, or was he simply and unconsciously warming up to a grand finale consisting of her death? As Liam delves deeper into the circumstances leading up to and surrounding this brutal crime, he slowly comes to some extremely uncomfortable conclusions. It appears that he is being set up, and he can hardly believe who is doing it. However, the biggest and deadliest surprise of all lies in wait at the conclusion.

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE clips along smartly from the beginning but attains warp speed during its final third as Liam and Sean’s cover-up of the evidence starts to collapse. This results in a manhunt that sends Liam into hiding, even as the dragnet closes in on him. Not only does he need to dodge the police, he must gather enough evidence to determine what happened to him and whether he or someone else murdered Kerri. There are plenty of twists and turns along the way --- not to mention mayhem --- so not everyone walking around at the start of the book remains standing at the end. This is an auspicious and remarkable introduction to an author from whom more is coming. Jump on board now.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on October 5, 2018

What Have You Done
by Matthew Farrell

  • Publication Date: October 1, 2018
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 303 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
  • ISBN-10: 1503902404
  • ISBN-13: 9781503902404