A serial killer’s dark obsession with the preservation of beauty sees him return to stalk the streets of Penzance in the summer of 2019. It’s 23 years since his first victims went missing, setting DI Brandon Hammett on the hunt for the Sleeping Beauty Killer.

A beautiful woman is being held captive in an unknown location. Although not physically injured, she is manacled to a chair in a darkened, sinister dining room. Her captor is polite but menacing. Her female companions, silent spectators.

#FairestCreatures @karen_taylor7 @leamingtonbooks #RandomThingsTours @annecater @RandomTTours #blogtour

When a glass box is found in Prussia Cove, containing a conch and the ear of a missing beauty, a murder investigation is launched. Is the Sleeping Beauty Killer back? Or is this a copycat killing? What’s clear is an evasive, clever killer is at large, presenting DI Brandon Hammett with his biggest challenge to date.

My Review

I read Fairest Creatures in three days. If I didn’t have to work, clean the house, wash up etc I would probably have read it in one sitting. It was so exciting. However, it’s very creepy, but that’s not surprising due to the subject matter.

It’s set in Cornwall where I spent many holidays as a child and later with my own children. Who would have guessed such a beautiful place would be playing host to a serial killer.

But this isn’t an ‘ordinary’ serial killer. No disposing of the bodies in shallow graves or acid baths. Our killer has other plans for his victims. The Sleeping Beauty Killer or SBK as he is known, first struck 23 years earlier, but he was never caught and no bodies were ever found. His victims were all women in their early thirties and were extremely beautiful.

So when a glass box is discovered in Prussia Cove, containing a conch shell and the ear of a missing woman, DI Brandon Hammett is involved in launching a murder investigation. Has the Sleeping Beauty Killer returned? Or is this a copycat killing? Initially everything points to this being the original SBK, but some things don’t fit.

We hear from the perspective of DI Brandon Hammett, but also from that of Julia, a beautiful widow, who is very wealthy and has started using online dating sites to meet a new man. Finally we hear from one of the victims and it’s a chilling read.

We are all waiting for the SBK or his copycat to make a mistake, to slip up, but he’s been too clever until now. This time will Brandon and his team manage to outwit him and at what cost? Fairest Creatures is very cleverly plotted with some interesting twists. I loved it.

Many thanks to @annecater for inviting me to be part of #RandomThingsTours

About the Author

Karen is a University of East Anglia alumni crime writer whose latest novel Fairest Creatures was longlisted for the 2020 Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger. Before turning to crime, Karen wrote a series of children’s books and short stories. Her middle grade Sci-Fi novel Turbulence was shortlisted at the Winchester Writers Festival, alongside a novella and a short story. Her YA thriller Off The Rails won her a place in the Dragon’s Den at the London Book Fair in 2016.

Born and based in London, Karen is also a journalist and editor with wide ranging experience, covering anything from business to lifestyle. She’s worked on trade, corporate and association publications, run international news teams, and contributed to newspapers and magazines including The Financial Times, The London Evening Standard, The London Magazine, The Independent, and The Far Eastern Economic Review. Her first thriller The Trade, published by Endeavour Press, was inspired by her globe-trotting years as a commodity markets reporter.

2 Comments on “Fairest Creatures by Karen Taylor

  1. Thank you for the excellent review. I am so glad you enjoyed the book. I know what you mean about the work and chores! They do get in the way of the more pleasant things in life … like reading your lovely review, Veronika.

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