When the body of a woman is found on the banks of the River Mersey, scalped and her facial features removed, links are immediately made to a recent murder in nearby Warrington. When a third body is found, bearing the same injuries, DCI Eve Clay knows that there is a particularly sadistic serial killer operating on her patch. Each of the dead women had one major thing in common – they were all hoping to find love on the same dating website. Eve feels that there is only one way to stop ‘The Ghoul’ and that is to go undercover online, posing as his perfect victim…

I’m a huge fan of Mark Roberts and A Date With Death was one of the books I was most looking forward to reading this year. Ever since reading the first in the DCI Eve Clay books, Blood Mist, this series has become one of my firm favourites and Eve has become one of my favourite characters. This book, the fifth in the series, keeps up the high standard that I have come to expect.

One of the things I like most about this series is that we don’t have ordinary, run of the mill serial killers – if there is such a thing! In the past, we’ve had bodies arranged in patterns and a paedophile killer but now we have someone who slices off the faces of their victims. For those, of a squeamish nature, we don’t actually read about the act itself, but we do, towards the end of the book, find out the reason why the killer does this, making for a very gruesome scene!

Eve Clay is a great character with a gripping backstory, her traumatic past shaping how she is today. Although you do not need to have read the previous books in the series to enjoy this one, I have really enjoyed seeing how her character has developed. Even though she is dealing with a particularly horrific case, she appears to be becoming more able to separate her professional and personal life, not fretting as much about her young son as she has done in previous books.

Mark Roberts has definitely done it again with A Date With Death, writing a gripping book, impossible to put down. I’m already looking forward to the next one – maybe, in the meantime, I’ll bump into Clay’s husband and son at Goodison Park!