Fairest Creatures by Karen Taylor

The book is a crime thriller set in 2019. The chapters are short (which I prefer) and each one is told from three characters’ viewpoints. (I love the font their names are in, for the chapter headings.)

When Detective Inspector Brandon Hammett hears about a skeletal hand being found in a glass box in woodland, he is reminded of the Sleeping Beauty serial killings in Cornwall in the 1990s. The cases were never solved, but became notorious – various body parts turning up with an object in a glass case, almost as if they were displayed in an artistic way. But is this the same killer, or a copycat? And if it’s the same one, why has he waited twenty-three years to kill again?

Meanwhile, a woman reports her friend Clarissa has gone missing, after going on a first date with a man she’d been talking to online. Brandon investigates, along with twenty-nine year old Detective Sergeant Jo Menhenrick.

We also follow Julia Trenowden’s story. She is 35, widowed and lives with her fifteen-year-old son in Hartington Hall. When we first meet her, she is hiring staff for the Hall, planning a party and trying online dating.

The third viewpoint is that of ‘Creature’ – the latest captive of the Sleeping Beauty Killer. We see how she is doing and what her life is like at the hands of her captor.

This is a brilliant book, beautifully paced and the ‘fairytale’ nature of the Sleeping Beauty Killer’s actions gives it a unique angle to the crimes. The SBK must be one of the most intriguing fictional serial killers ever and you wonder about the psychology behind his actions, just as the police are doing the same. This all gives the novel more depth and a multi-layered feel to it. I read a lot of crime and thrillers, but this has real originality to it and I look forward to reading more of Karen Taylor’s work.


By Karen Taylor

ISBN: 9781914090240 (PAPERBACK)

ISBN: 9781914090370 (EBOOK)


282 pages ― 15th October ― £9.99

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. 

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.


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.

Published by karenlouisehollis

53, lives in Lincoln, England. Published writer, book blogger and reviewer, mum, grandma, cat owner, vegetarian. Loves reading and sewing. My novel is out - WELCOME TO WHITLOCK CLOSE.

One thought on “Fairest Creatures by Karen Taylor

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: