Wednesday, 26 March 2014



The debut novel from a crime star in the making - utterly gripping and perfect for fans of Stuart MacBride and Mark Billingham.
The young girl you have found isn’t the first experiment I’ve carried out. She won’t be the last.

A serial killer is stalking the streets of Liverpool, gruesomely murdering victims as part of a series of infamous unethical and deadly psychological experiments.

When it becomes apparent that each victim has ties to the City of Liverpool University, DI David Murphy and DS Laura Rossi realise they're chasing a killer unlike any they've hunted before – one who doesn’t just want their bodies, but wants their minds.

With a series of psychological twists Dead Gone will chill you to the bone, and keep you guessing until the very end.
Luca Veste
Net Galley book again with a debut novel from a Liverpudlian author of Italian heritage.

When I checked this on Amazon UK, the book has over 100 reviews, with 60 plus scoring it top marks and a further 24 giving it 4 stars; with the odd exception – 1 x 1 star, 2 x 2 stars - everyone seems to be loving it.
Where did it sit with me? Interesting not incredible. Satisfying not stunning. Enjoyable not excellent………shall I go on….ok you get the drift.

Girl goes missing, not for the first time, boyfriend worries, family less concerned…… forward, 11 months later, a different girl is found murdered in a Liverpool park, note attached to body claiming she is an experiment, police investigation starts, another body appears, another note, regular flashes to our original girl who is being held somewhere.  

We start to focus on our police team. DI Dave Murphy heads the team. Its Murphy’s first murder case since something went a bit Pete Tong on his last. He’s troubled, he’s split from his ex-junkie wife and we are aware something awful happened to his parents, something he is having trouble coming to terms with, something he seems to blame his wife for.

Number two in our police team is a female – DS Laura Rossi. Younger than Murphy, single and capable. We also have Brannon, the token misfit, who strives to make himself appear more capable than he actually is, someone who endeavours to undermine Murphy to other officers at every opportunity.    
The notes with the bodies point the investigation towards one of the City’s Universities and the psychology department. The case unfolds, the killer claims more victims, and more notes appear confirming “experiments” and a psychological aspect to the case. Killer starts taunting Murphy over events of the past, frequent flashes to our captive, pressure mounts on Murphy, inquiries focus on the Uni and its staff.  Etc. and onto the climax and the end.

I might be somewhat glib in my narration of events, but I did enjoy it. (I don’t want to give too much detail or spoil anyone’s future enjoyment.)  And for something that weighs in at either 319 pages (Net Galley count), 357 pages (Kindle) or 400 pages (paperback edition)……..I started this Sunday afternoon and finished Tuesday evening……it was a quick read.

Decent enough plot, fast-paced, interesting setting in Liverpool, with some well-drawn characters. Murphy, I guess was meant to come across as broody, troubled and enigmatic – a damaged man struggling to cope with his past and get his life back on track whilst juggling the pressures of the job. I could kind of sympathise with him, but I found myself wanting to punch him in the face, as he irritated and annoyed me, just a bit too much in the book. I’m not sure this would have been the reaction that the author was striving for, but hey any reaction beats indifference. Favourite character would be Laura Rossi – who came across as likeable, dependable and balanced.

The portrayal of the various relationships throughout the book was superb…… police with police, especially Murphy and Rossi, Murphy and his boss, Murphy and his other colleagues, Murphy and his one friend – Jess, Rossi and her family, our captive and her boyfriend…..all interesting dynamics expertly presented.   

Overall a 4 from 5  

Would I want read more from Veste then? Very probably, as long as the page count in his books don’t grow exponentially with each successive book.   

Author's website is here. Dead Gone is available now; on Amazon - UK for less than a pound in Kindle format. 


  1. Glad you enjoyed it, Col. I've heard good things about it too. And don't get me started about page count and length...

    1. Margot cheers. It's not over-long in my opinion, but I'm mindful of the fact that some authors I have followed seem to get longer with every passing book. LESS IS MORE! Hopefully Luca bucks the trend with his next!

  2. The big pull for me is that it's set in Liverpool, which is my home town, so you might just have sold me this one, given that you were enthusiastic about the plot too. Couldn't agree more about lengths - who is it who wants these long books?

    1. Moira - you have me at a disadvantage, I can't think of any books featuring sunny Leighton Buzzard. In addition to Veste, you've got Kevin Sampson and Ron Ellis, that spring to mind.

      400 - I think is going to be my maximum length going forward, unless it's something I already have, or someone I already like,

  3. Sounds attractive to me because it is a police procedural, but I will probably wait until I see more reviews from you on future books. Just because my book stacks are too high.

    1. No rush Tracy, it will be around for ages I reckon. I'm blaming Moira for the height of your stacks!

  4. Col, I'm reading a crime fiction that sounds like this one in terms of a serial killer on the loose and one that is thick on police procedural, and cop to cop and cop to district attorney relations. I have a feeling I'm going to surprise a few readers when I review the book, hopefully, next week.

    1. Prashant - happy days! I'll be looking forward to next week on your blog then.