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The Guest

September 2022

The weight of Sarah’s body held her trapped to the floor. Lynda tried to push her off but it was impossible while at the same time keeping a hand on Sarah’s neck to staunch the blood.

An odd thought suddenly manifested in her head: she’d never realized how heavy a dead body could be. But Sarah wasn’t dead? No, she wasn’t dead. What more could she do? If only she could reach her phone to call for an ambulance, but it was on the desk on the far side of the room.

Think! Think! Using her elbows as levers, she slithered and slid, inch by inch, across the floor, dragging Sarah with her.

Each second seemed to take an hour, but she finally reached the desk. She tried to reach up for the phone, but it was impossible unless she pushed Sarah off her. How long would it take for Sarah to die if she took her hand off the wound?

The strap of her bag was hanging over the edge of the desk.

Keeping her hand pressed on the slash in Sarah’s neck, Lynda reached out with her other hand and pulled the strap. Her bag came tumbling down, spilling the contents across the blood-covered floor. Grabbing the scarf she’d bought on the way to the charity to give to Georgina as a birthday gift next week, she thrust it against the wound in Sarah’s throat.

She hated Sarah, but she hadn’t really wanted it to come to this. Or did she? Yesterday she would have been glad to know Sarah had died in agony. Lynda had handled it all wrong.

She hadn’t meant for things to go this far. Her gaze fell on the knife laying in a pool of blood. Her fingerprints were on the handle. All she’d planned was to confront Sarah and get at the truth. Make her admit what she’d done.

‘Don’t die,’ she whispered. ‘Please, please don’t die. I’m so sorry. I’m sorry for everything. I didn’t really want you dead.’

Was Sarah still breathing? The flow of blood felt more sluggish now. Did that mean she was close to death?

‘Help me!’ she yelled again. ‘Somebody, help me!’

She could hear sirens. Were they coming this way? Yes, they were getting closer and closer. Someone must have called the emergency services. Thank God!

‘Hold on, Sarah. Hold on.’

The siren’s howling crept closer until it seemed to stop right outside. Why wasn’t anyone coming in?

‘Help! Help! She’s dying!’ she screamed.

The charity door burst open and suddenly the room seemed to be full of uniformed bodies. Sarah was gently lifted off and Lynda was able to move again. She tried to get to her feet, slipped in the blood and fell down again. An officer reached out and pulled her up. She turned from him to see what was happening to Sarah, but there were too many people in the way.

She moved forward, taking small steps on the slippery floor.

‘Can you save her? I never meant for this to happen. Please, can you save her?’

She felt a hand on her arm and was pulled round to see a police officer facing her. It was the same one who’d helped her to her feet. He looked too young to be a policeman.

‘You need to come away, miss, and let the paramedics do their job.’

Lynda nodded and allowed him to lead her towards the main door of the charity office. The floor seemed to be covered in blood. How had it spread so far? Can someone lose so much blood and still live? She turned back to see a paramedic leaning over Sarah.

‘Is she going to be OK?’ she asked. ‘I tried to save her. Honestly, I did. I didn’t mean for this to happen.’

The paramedic glanced up, but avoided her gaze. Instead, he looked at the policeman still holding on to her arm and shook his head.

‘I’m sorry,’ he said. ‘She’s gone. There’s nothing more we can do.’

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Reviews of D. I. Sterling series

Chilling but amazing

Oh my goodness, what an opening!! Lorraine certainly knows how to write a gripping thriller. This book was chilling but amazing.


Consistent and gripping

Fast paced, twists and turns, did not want to put it down. Same characters that we know. Cannot wait for the 6th … the series is consistent and gripping


Vivid and realistic storytelling

Reading ‘Love Me Tender’ felt like being on a very unpredictable rollercoaster ride with more twists and turns to it than you could possibly count. I felt as though I was part of the story and that’s all thanks to Lorraine’s very vivid and realistic storytelling. For me, ‘Love Me Tender’ is a tightly plotted and gripping read that held my attention throughout and which kept me on the edge of my seat.


Twists and turns by the dozen

Great addition to the series. Twists and turns by the dozen. Fast paced, all plots unravelled and tidied up by the last page. I cannot wait for the next instalment.


Everything I want

From start to finish this book kept me fully engrossed. It had everything that I want in a crime thriller to keep me hooked. Mystery, murder, torture, intrigue and a well thought out plotline.


I really, really enjoyed this novel

This is my first foray into the DI Sterling series and I must admit that I am going to hunt down and consume the rest because I really, really enjoyed this novel. Not reading any of the other books in the series had little impact, rather the relationships between characters are so well constructed that I am eager to read the earlier novels to see how they have developed and grown.


Kept me guessing

I was warned that reading the first few pages would make me squirm and I did! Another Great story and characters. Kept me guessing to the end, I really had no idea who would turn out to be the villain. I like the way the characters are developing and look forward to the next book. Recommended.


Edge of your seat

This is the fourth book in the D.I. Paolo Sterling series. Yet again Lorraine Mace keeps you on the edge of your seat, trying to guess the perpetrator. This is another fast, well plotted read.



Whilst this story was not as dark as the previous two in this series, it felt more intense. As DI Sterling investigated the case, he kept hitting brick wall after brick wall and you could sense he was up against the clock the catch the killer. The use of insulin was a unique weapon of choice and I learnt that something that would save lives would kill others horrifically.


Already a huge fan

I’m already a huge fan of DI Paolo Sterling mysteries but I think this is my favourite book in the series so far!


Beautifully written page-turner

This was a fascinating and beautifully written page-turner, with believable, interesting and sympathetic characters. The author has avoided the character cliches, and created an exciting and frighteningly credible plot. I couldn’t put this down until I’d finished it. Also very impressed with the excellent pace and the tight ending.


Fast-paced gripping read

I couldn’t put this book down. A fast-paced gripping read with a credible plot and authentic characters. It had me hooked until the end and I can’t wait to read more of Lorraine’s books.


Highly recommended

Great read from this author. Gripping tale, good characters. Highly recommended.


Right down to the nitty gritty

This is the second in the D.I. Sterling series, written by the brilliant Lorraine Mace. Her books lure you in from the first page and get right down to the nitty gritty from the start. They are not for the faint hearted, certainly not cosy reading, but well written for anyone who enjoys a good crime novel.


Brilliantly written

Brilliantly written and fast paced, loved this book. I’m hooked on this fantastic author!


Compelling crime novel

This is a well conceived and compelling crime novel that deals sympathetically with an unsympathetic investigation. I liked the honesty and authenticity at the heart of this book, helped greatly by a new kind of lead detective who carries with him an air of being a true gentleman.


Gripped me

This is an edge-of-the-seat crime thriller, starring Di Paolo Stirling, which gripped me right to the end. Lorraine Mace certainly knows how to keep you hooked!


I was hooked

From page 1 I was hooked! Mace certainly knows how to employ a shock tactic or two… This was one of those un-put-downable, gripping, read-in-one-sitting crime novels from an author who is evidently Queen of the red herrings.


Loved this book so much!

I loved this book so much! My first with Paolo Sterling but definitely not my last.


Well thought out plot

Well thought out plot, lots of red herrings to keep you guessing pretty much to the end and a lead character that, although he has his flaws, you are rooting for.


great British crime drama

I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and I can’t wait to start the next book in the series!

The Northern Witch’s Book Blog

excellent police procedural

This book kept me hooked and at one point I was convinced up to 4 different people could be the killer!

Books and Emma

could not put my kindle down while reading this!

It isn’t very often that I just know I’m gonna fall in love with a series halfway through the first book!

Feed the Crime

Wonderfully dark crime procedural

it’s a hidden gem of a perfect crime novel

Radzy Writes and Reviews

kept me guessing right until the end

Every time I thought I had it figured out, another spanner was thrown in the works and all my amateur detective work was thrown out the window!

K T Robson Reviews

Retriever of Souls is a wonderfully crafted novel

It’s filled with all sorts of twists and turns that not only kept me hooked till the last page but also made me excited for the next installment in the series.

Off the Record

A first class crime novel

Retriever of Souls is sinister, menacing and jam-packed with jaw dropping twists and turns …

Bookish Jottings

Instantly engaging

D.I. Paolo Sterling is instantly engaging – Children in Chains is a dark, gripping and unflinching read.

Louise Phillips, winner of the Best Irish Crime Novel of the Year, longlisted for the CWA Dagger in the Library Award for her entire body of work.

Unflinching plots

Delve into the dark side. Well-constructed with unflinching plots.  Satisfying enough for the most discerning crime reader.

Ruth Dugdall, winner of the CWA Debut Dagger Award and author of best-selling psychological crime.


Gripping, fast-paced crime fiction with a compelling central character. Fans of Karin Slaughter and Tess Gerritsen will love Lorraine Mace.

Sheila Bugler, author of the DI Ellen Kelly series.

Compulsive reading

Fast-paced and compulsive reading with tension ratcheted to the max. D.I. Paolo Sterling’s humanity is tested by gut-wrenching crimes and damaged killers. Fans of Mo Hayder should love this series.

Chris Curran, author of psychological thrillers

Gritty and gripping

A gritty and positively compelling crime novel

Colette McCormick, author of Ribbons in Her Hair.

Gut-wrenching thriller

‘A visceral, no-punches-pulled, gut-wrenching thriller. A disturbing and gripping tale of child prostitution, and the tragic detective Paolo Sterling dealing with the heartache of his own daughter’s sexual assault. Crime Noir at its darkest’ 

Caroline Dunford, A Death in the Family 

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