Blood Runs Cold by Dylan Young

Blair had stopped crying. There was no window, the walls were smooth and it was quiet. She didn’t want to be alone. But she didn’t want him to come back.

Blood Runs Cold book cover

An eleven-year-old girl has been abducted in Scotland. An eyewitness saw Blair Smeaton and her older sister Kirsty talking to a man close to his van but can’t recall any details that could help to find the missing child.

In Bristol, Detective Anna Gwynne is easing herself back into work by looking into a cold case – the abduction and murder of Rosie Dawson some ten years past. A new lead has appeared in the form of a picture of Rosie alone in a darkened basement, lifted from a dark web chatroom.

It is when a picture of Blair in that same dark room emerges that Anna’s cold case and Edinburgh’s current investigation collide together. To have any chance of finding Blair alive, Anna must turn to a contact who can help her understand the dark online world that has yielded the new evidence. But that contact is Hector Shaw, a violent criminal currently serving time in a maximum-security prison. His assistance could mean the difference between life and death for Blair, but Anna knows from bitter experience that where Shaw is concerned, she must tread very carefully.


I am always very happy when I uncover a new crime writer. In particular one who writes gritty UK-based thrillers that I can get my teeth into. So, with the discovery of Dylan Young, I am a happy camper.

I find that these kinds of novels live or die on the development and inter-relationships of the key characters. Upon her return to work, and following her promotion, DI Gwynne’s job is complicated by the addition of a new recruit to her team, DS Woakes. He immediately rubs Anna’s whole team the wrong way, and his ‘do-first, think later’ attitude jeopardises an important case. This is new territory for Anna as she must decide the best way to deal with Woakes and support her existing team.

Blood Runs Cold follows the threads of a number of cases, historic and current, and I really enjoyed the tension this created in the story. The developments in Anna’s personal life also add another nice layer of depth, and I will look forward with anticipation to the next instalment of this series.

This novel has a satisfying conclusion, which felt neither spoon-fed nor pulled out of thin air, and I would happily recommend this series to fans of the like of Angela Marsons and Robert Bryndza.

The first novel featuring Detective Anna Gwynne is The Silent Girls.

…Anna knew the game she was playing was a dangerous one. But Shaw had somehow managed to align his agenda with hers and she could not, in all consciousness, step away from the lion’s cage.

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