Inner Circle by Claire McNab is the eighth book in the Detective Inspector Carol Ashton Mystery Series.

Nothing about the investigation into the execution-style murders of two young men is simple or clear cut at all. Detective Inspector Carol Ashton is on this case and delving into it can put her life in jeopardy. At first the case seems to lead to nowhere significant until she follows the breadcrumb trails of scattered clues to a small sleepy town. Unfortunately, in this sleepy town, she encounters a secret militia with extremist views who will wage war with anyone not in favor of the group’s values. Will Carol be able to solve the murders, put a stop to this group’s brutality and bring the perpetrators to justice?

The Characters

Carol will always have my heart (I just love women who serve their country). I love her quick wit and her one-point focus on the case that she’s working on. She does whatever is necessary to try to solve the murders and apprehend the suspects. Even though her job ranks high on her priority list, she clearly loves her family very much. Despite her long working hours and the heavy demands placed on her, Carol always tries to keep her life balanced by being the best person she can be whether she is on the job or not.

Detective Sergeant Mark Bourke joins the list of well-loved characters that I enjoy reading about. He’s extremely funny and I enjoy the banter between him and Carol. I admire Mark’s keen intellect when he is in the process of trying to solve a case. His unique ways of acquiring information always amazes me. He’s a very compassionate person despite his tough exterior and he is a wonderful friend and coworker to Carol.

The Writing Style

Claire McNab was awesome in her portrayal of this badass detective! I can always count on this author to craft perilous scenes that keep me intrigued throughout the entire story. Her explicit descriptions of the Australian terrain made me feel as though I was seeing it for myself first hand instead of reading about it.

The Pros

I was really excited to read about the various organizations that worked together to solve the case. Introducing other prominent characters into the story was wonderful and I love how this author tied everything in so well without losing focus of the main character. In addition, there was no lag at all in the story. It was pure action all the way through!

The Cons

There were gruesome details of an autopsy as well as very vivid descriptions of several murders.

The Conclusion

This story will grip you from the first page and carry you through the opaque networks that Detective Inspector Carol Ashton has to navigate in order to solve the case. If you are indeed a fan of riveting mysteries and thrillers, then I heartily recommend this book to you! Be prepared to be perched at the edge of your seat from the moment you begin to read to the very end. This book can be read as a stand-alone but if you would like to get all of the background on Detective Inspector Carol Ashton, then I would advise you to start with the first book in the series.

Excerpt from Inner Circle by Claire McNab

“It seems odd that two bodies should be arranged so carefully on your particular lawn, Mr. Agar.”

He glanced down at the activity below, then back to Carol. “It’s hardly common knowledge that I live here, since I only moved in last week. That means this has got nothing to do with me.” Bellicose, he shoved his face close to hers. “So, I suggest, Inspector Ashton, that you stop harassing me and get on with your job.”

Unmoved, Carol said crisply, “It will only take a moment.”

His mouth tightened. “Oh, very well!” He pushed past her and strode down the remaining steps. Halting beside Bourke and Liz Carey, he gave a cursory look at the bodies. Then he jerked his head back. Carol, following, heard him exclaim, “Christ!”

Bourke put a hand under Agar’s elbow. “You okay?”

Agar was gray faced. He swayed and bent double. It seemed he would fall without Bourke’s support. “Can you take the blindfold off?” His voice was hoarse. “The boy…”

Carol took Agar’s other arm. “No, that’s not possible. It has to be removed later, when the bodies go to the morgue. Do you want to sit down?”

With an obvious effort, Agar straightened. “I’d like to go inside.”

Carol said, “You recognize the younger man.” It wasn’t a question.

Agar nodded slowly. “I’m not sure, but it could be…”

“Who?” Bourke was abrupt.

“A friend of my son’s. Bayliss. Dean Bayliss. But it can’t be…”

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Bits and Bobs

  • ISBN number: 9781931513470
  • Publisher: Bella Books

Claire McNab Online 

Note: I received a free review copy of Inner Circle by Claire McNab. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.