Too Close to Breathe

Too Close to Breathe

by Olivia Kiernan


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Olivia Kiernan’s tautly written debut novel immerses readers in a chilling murder case...and the tantalizing, enigmatic victim at the center of it all.

In a quiet Dublin suburb, within her pristine home, Eleanor Costello is found hanging from a rope.

Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan would be more than happy to declare it a suicide. Four months earlier, Frankie’s pursuit of a killer almost ended her life and she isn’t keen on investigating another homicide. But the autopsy reveals poorly healed bones and old stab wounds, absent from medical records. A new cut is carefully, deliberately covered in paint. Eleanor’s husband, Peter, is unreachable, missing. A search of the couple’s home reveals only two signs of personality: a much-loved book on art and a laptop with access to the Dark Web.

With the suspect pool growing, the carefully crafted profile of the victim crumbling with each new lead, and mysterious calls to Frankie’s phone implying that the killer is closer than anyone would like, all Frankie knows is that Eleanor guarded her secrets as closely in life as she does in death.

As the investigation grows more challenging, Frankie can’t help but feel that something doesn’t fit. And when another woman is found murdered, the same paint on her corpse, Frankie knows that unraveling Eleanor’s life is the only way to find the murderer before he claims another victim...or finishes the fate Frankie only just managed to escape.

Engrossing, complex, and atmospheric, Olivia Kiernan’s debut novel will leave you breathless.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781524742614
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/03/2018
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 605,537
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Olivia Kiernan is an Irish writer living in the UK. She was born and raised in County Meath near the famed heritage town of Kells and holds an MA in creative writing awarded by the University of Sussex. She is also the author of Too Close to Breathe.

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Chapter 1

Excerpted from "Too Close to Breathe"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Olivia Kiernan.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Too Close to Breathe 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Celticlady1953KK More than 1 year ago
The Irish are fantastic storytellers, and Olivia Kiernan proves that she is going to be one of the best. Too Close to Breathe is the first in the Frankie Sheehan mystery/thriller series and debut novel for her. Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan who four months earlier, was almost killed in an attack trying to apprehend a killer. When she is called to a Dublin suburb to investigate the supposed suicide of a woman, Eleanor Costello, who is found hanging from a rope in her home. At first, it seems cut and dried and the case can be closed but after the autopsy report shows old wounds and broken bones Frankie realizes that this is not a suicide. Of course, the first suspect is the husband. Another woman's body is discovered with the same MO as Eleanor's. Then Paul Costello is found and that really throws the investigation into a tailspin. Frankie is challenged with all she has to try to figure out what really happened. Frankie is a strong but flawed, a bit rough around the edges, woman who tries to take charge of her demons and keep an open mind in her investigation. With the help of her team, Frankie pulls out all the stops in this case. Too Close to Breathe is a taut thriller that will have fans of Tanya French and Gillian Flynn excited to read this new author. I really loved the story and definitely want to read more from this Olivia Kiernan.
readers_retreat More than 1 year ago
Olivia Kiernan shows a lot of promise in this debut and series opener, based primarily in Dublin, it features some horrifying murders. A mesmerising mixture of murder, betrayal, and secrets, this is a police procedural that I very much enjoyed. DCS Frankie Sheehan feels like a character who has her own baggage, and story to tell, I do appreciate it when the investigators in a book are fleshed out in such a way as is done here. The author does a great job of developing her characters throughout the book. I kept guessing and each time was proved wrong, which is the ideal in a title from the crime thriller genre. It is now so hard to rise to the top of this genre as there are so many authors writing crime now. There are so many, with a lot of them being just mediocre. This is definitely above average but it didn't blow me away. I hope to see Kiernan publishing more of her work in the future. I would like to thank Olivia Kiernan, Quercus Books, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read a copy of this book in exchange for an honest and impartial review.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Exciting murder novel. Well written.
TheLifeofaBookAddict More than 1 year ago
DCS Frankie Sheehan is a good Detective. Unfortunately she had a little set back when she was attacked while investigating a prior case. Now back on the job, she needs to find out who murdered Dr. Eleanor Costello. This case is sort of a make it or break it situation for her. She needs to prove that she is still a very capable Detective and able to really handle work again. Plus stop a killer before they possibly strike again. I like Frankie. She is very good at what she does. She is tough as nails and isn’t afraid to make hard decisions that others might not be comfortable with. Plus she uses common sense...for the most part. Apart from the investigation though, I felt like I didn’t really connect with her character much. There were a couple of scenes where Frankie got crank calls (silence on the end). I was expecting the killer to start taunting Frankie as if they were too smart for their own good. Maybe some cat and mouse type games. There was some taunting, but it wasn’t that much. I was a little disappointed by that. The author, Olivia Kiernan has such a way with words. She knows how to create a well written mystery. I know I’ve mentioned this a thousand times before, but I hate being able to guess the ending or killer in a story. I was not able to do that with Too Close to Breathe. It kept me guessing from beginning to end. There are several red herrings and seemingly guilty parties. I thought I knew what direction the story was going, but I am happy to say that I was wrong. I would never have guessed who the killer was. That one really surprised me. I’m curious to see what’s next for Frankie. **Although I received this book on behalf of the Publisher, the thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are solely my own.**
CharlotteLynnsReviews More than 1 year ago
WOW... This is a debut book by Olivia Kiernan. DCS Frankie Sheehan has a lot going on. She is working on solving a string of crimes while also dealing with a crime that happen against her. There is no doubt the crime against her left her with many issues to deal with but working is helping her get on with her life. I like that a Frankie didn't let her issues keep her out of living life. I actually think that because of what happen it helps her keep prospective of the crimes, sees things other have or could have missed, and work harder to solve a crime that others have written off as unsolvable. I was enthralled from the beginning and by the halfway point of the story I thought I had the case solved. Yea, well I wasn't even close. I love being wrong while reading. The hints led me one way while I should have gone the other way. While there were some hints that I knew were taking me the wrong direction since what fun would it be to give it all away at the beginning of the story I couldn't help but follow them. I am a synopsis and cover person. For me to want to read a book the cover has to grab my attention. The cover of Too Close to Breathe did just that. I look at the cover and saw a mystery, a thriller, and a dark story that I couldn't wait to pick up. Then when I read the synopsis and Olivia Kiernan was compared to such amazing authors as Tana French and Gillian Flynn I knew that I would not be able to pass on this book.
diane92345 More than 1 year ago
Nothing is as it seems in the new top-notch thriller Too Close to Breathe by debut Irish novelist Olivia Kiernan. Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan is back to work after being stabbed in the line of duty. Frankie is placed in charge of a large team looking into the death of Professor Eleanor Costello. One small forensic finding makes Eleanor’s hanging not a suicide but a murder. There are indications that Eleanor may have been a victim of physical abuse. Eleanor’s husband has also disappeared. As the body count rises, it appears that a serial killer is at large in Dublin. I won’t say more as the fun is trying to follow the twisty plot. Frankie’s PTSD is almost another character in Too Close to Breathe. The case against her assailant is going to trial soon. Frankie’s back story is slowly unveiled through flashbacks. Too Close to Breathe was a thrilling read until the last 15%. I wasn’t happy with the end. It didn’t necessarily play fair with the amateur detective reader. Or maybe I’m just upset because I didn’t guess who did it. It was also rather abrupt. There were also many coincidences toward the end. However, this book still deserves 4 stars for the innovative structure of a detective with PTSD and some of the other surprising aspects of the crime not often used in thrillers. I hope this is the start of a long and productive series. Thanks to the publisher, Dutton, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books ive read in awhile
literarymuseVC More than 1 year ago
Frankie Sheehan is dealing with two complex murders as a detective in Dublin, Ireland. Sometimes the public fails to understand or perceive the tremendous stresses that are a constant and pervasive part of the job. Frankie is well-respected but also has her colleagues worried about her present recovery and work on another case. The first one involves the murder of Tracy Ward, a case in which she was physically assaulted in a brutal way. Even now in the middle of her work, her own posttraumatic stress syndrome makes it hard to function, but Frankie is no wimp and forges on. She dreads having to testify against the accused killer but her passion for justice far exceeds her fears. The second and present case she is trying to solve with her colleagues involves a well-respected microbiologist scientist and professor, Eleanor Costello. At first it was believed she committed suicide. But clues appear that indicated murder was the truth and there is a further mystery with the mysterious disappearance of the victim’s husband. Add to the mix that this crime has something to do with the Dark Web of the Internet where people who enjoy violence with sex communicate with each other. Many of these scenarios go further than intended, eventually involving law and order forces. But a chemical will prove to be the weakness that the killer leaves behind and leads to an arrest. Is the trial of the first murder connected to the death of Eleanor Costello? Is Tracy in more danger than she realizes? As the person in charge of the investigation of both cases, how clear is Frankie’s thinking as her own traumatized psyche confuses issues. Olivia Kiernan has written a gripping, reality-based police mystery novel that will keep you flipping the pages, wondering if justice will be served or evaded. Nicely done, Olivia Kiernan!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Too Close To Breath is the first Frankie Sheehan detective novel. And I am glad for it. As we start this intricate and unpredictable procedural, Frankie is back on the job after recovering from injuries from a previous case. Her boss decides to give Frankie an easy case, an apparent suicide. But after the initial investigation, it is unclear if it is a suicide or homicide. There are many indications and clues that suggest homicide, such as a computer filled with links to unseemly web pages, a missing husband, and other anomalies. Soon another corpse is discovered, but is it a separate case or part of the first case? The author keeps us guessing and making assumptions about motive, means, and opportunity. All needed to solve this difficult and unpredictable case. The author creates a lot of suspense and intrigue, up until the denouement. I highly recommend this book and look forward to more from this talented writer.
ZR1000 More than 1 year ago
An intriguing, ominous, police procedural… This is the first book in the Frankie Sheehan series that can be read as a stand-alone. This was an intriguing police procedural with a heroine returning to work after being harmed on the job, she’s just getting back into the groove with this new case, a suicide by looks of it but in actuality murder with the added enigmas of a missing husband, an art book that doesn’t seem to fit in, and a computer that connects to the Dark Web. Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan is a damaged heroine, we see the psychological turmoil that she is still in after the trauma she suffered months before. She’s constantly questioning herself and that perhaps leads her to make mistakes she can’t abide to have. This detective, an experienced forensic scientist and profiler, isn’t one to give up until all the answers are found, such focus can be advantageous to bringing a killer to justice and decidedly dangerous to a person’s mental state and physical well-being. There’s an interesting twist when supposedly separate cases converge and this reader could not guess the perpetrator. As this is the first book in a series I do hope this character has learned the lesson she didn’t learn the first time, ALWAYS wait for her team. I was left with a question throughout the read. Don’t detectives in Ireland have guns? If Frankie had had one on her person like I would expect law enforcement officers to have she could have spared herself a lot of pain. The setting for this story is Dublin, Ireland, so there are phrases specific to that country’s colloquialism. This was not bad for a debut novel, the rather dark plot dangled intricately woven threads and the suspense as they slowly unraveled kept this reader turning the pages. I look forward to what this author comes up with next. An advanced reading copy was obtained from the publisher’s First to Read program.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Too Close To Breathe was a dark, intelligent novel following Frankie, a flawed and damaged protagonist, in her return to the police force after a near death experience. What should have been a cut-and-dry suicide to build her confidence and re-acclimate her to the world of homicide quickly became much more convoluted. Two things made this book stand out in my mind: the police procedure and the ease with which the author included sensitive subjects. First, the police procedure had exceptional details, making me feel as though I were involved in the case, breaking out the minute details, and searching for the culprit. Second, this story contained extremely dark matter that even veteran authors would be hesitant to tackle, but I believe that Kiernan did a superb job. First, she addressed how PTSD can leave a lasting impact on an individual when visible wounds have healed. Then, she dove into a world of BDSM and the dark web. It was creepy and at times difficult to read, but it made the story come to life. I did feel that this story was a bit slow paced at times and it took me a while to get into the story. Until approximately the 90 page mark, I was struggling to focus because I honestly found myself getting confused. Until the details of Frankie's history began to come out, it almost felt as though I missed something (like, "didn't read the first book of the series" missed), but as things began to come to light the story picked up, leading to a dramatic conclusion. Overall, this was an intelligent and darkly thrilling debut by Kiernan and I truly look forward to reading her future releases (and I'm really, really hoping that Goodreads is correct, saying that this is the first in a Frankie Sheehan series!). Thank you so much to Dutton Publicity for providing me with an copy in exchange for my honest opinions. It's an honor to share my personal thoughts. -Kaylie @ Shih Tzus and Book Reviews