Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book
Rate this book
A Serial Killer
When the body of a missing schoolgirl is found buried in the Dublin Mountains, her hands clasped together in prayer, two red ribbons in her hair, the hunt for her killer reaches epic proportions with the discovery of a second girl's body 24 hours later.

The Criminal Psychologist
Desperate to find the murderer, police call in criminal psychologist Kate Pearson, to get inside the mind of the serial killer before he strikes again. But the more Kate discovers about the killings, the more it all begins to feel terrifyingly familiar as her own past threatens to cloud her investigations.

An Accused Woman
Ellie Brady has been institutionalised for 15 years, for the killing of her twelve-year-old daughter, Amy. After all this time, does Ellie hold the key to finding the killer of the Dublin schoolgirls?

What would you do if you were accused of killing your own daughter? What if those closest to you turned their back on you? And when everyone stopped listening, what next, when even you believe you're guilty? The Bad Man Is Everywhere

416 pages, Hardcover

First published September 3, 2012

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Louise Phillips

6 books210 followers

LOUISE PHILLIPS is an author of five bestselling crime novels, each shortlisted for Best Irish Crime Novel of the Year. Her second novel, THE DOLL’S HOUSE, won the award. She has been longlisted for the CWA Dagger in the Library Award in the UK, and her first two novels were published to critical acclaim in the U.S. Her fifth novel, ‘The Hiding Game’, is currently in development with a major U.S. film company, and her latest novel ‘They All Lied’ will be published in March 2022. Louise’s work has formed part of various anthologies, and she has won numerous literary awards. She teaches crime fiction writing at the Irish Writers’ Centre in Dublin, and she has also been a judge on the Irish panel for the EU Literary Award.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
305 (28%)
4 stars
412 (39%)
3 stars
254 (24%)
2 stars
49 (4%)
1 star
33 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 120 reviews
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,692 reviews14.1k followers
November 28, 2016
3.5 Debut novel set in Ireland. A young girl's body is found, her body has been staged, her hair braided and tied with a brilliant red bow. D. I. O'Connell brings Kate, a profiler into the case and she becomes their best hope of catching the murderer. I think I am just getting tired of all these stories told from multiple perspectives, in this one we hear from the D. I., Kate, the murderer himself and a young woman who has been in a psychiatric hospital for fifteen years. Her story was my favorite because for the longest time I couldn't figure out where her story fit.

Well written for sure, the first part I felt maybe a little too, slow, too long but the premise was an interesting one as is the way the connections are made. Kate herself is an interesting character, her marriage difficulties, an event in her past that helps her decode this case, and her doggedness, her intelligence. I did enjoy how all the threads were put together and the ending was very tense, but much of the story was predictable. A good first novel though and I expect this author will get better and better.

ARC from publisher.
Profile Image for Alex is The Romance Fox.
1,461 reviews1,080 followers
December 11, 2016

Red Ribbons by Louise Phillips is one of the most fantastic debut novels I have read in a very long time. I discovered this author by chance....after reading a lot of great reviews on GR's, I just wanted to get "stuck" into this book.
 photo 20135380_zpst3h8vwsy.gif
This is the 1st book in the Dr. Kate Pearson Series and it's a brilliantly clever and riveting psychological crime thriller, set in Dublin, featuring Dr Kate Pearson, Criminal Psychologist/Forensic Profiler who works with and assists the Gardai, in the profiling of murder suspects.

The title. Red Ribbons,
 photo unnamed_zpshi4uhxpz.jpg
is the link of crimes in the past and with the present day murders of two schoolgirls who are murdered in same ritual manner of the red ribbons used to tie their plaited hair.

The plot is told from different POV's which was an unique and interesting way to do it....you have Kate Pearson's thoughts, the psychiatric patient, Ellie Brady, who has been locked away for murdering her daughter and then the killer's POV.......which was the one thing I thought so brilliant.

Despite knowing who the killer is, you are still surprised by the end and the reasons for his deeds. Another aspect was the fact that you know this is a cruel, brutal with no sense of remorse...but what makes him more frightening is how calm and sane and rational he makes his actions sound. That was one of the most unsettling facet of this killer.

Well-written, multi-layered, well-crafted and well-paced plot, with well-drawn characters with the settings of Dublin, Wexford and Tuscany vividly described, this is gripping and suspenseful and absorbing story that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

One of my favourite quotes:
"The woman who stopped talking because everyone stopped listening."
Profile Image for  Li'l Owl.
398 reviews231 followers
August 6, 2019
Loved it!

The characters were engaging, interesting, and genuine. The story line was well written and very believable. Irish author, Louise Philips, created a beautiful setting that clearly reflected the Irish countryside, giving it a refreshing change of scenery. Caroline Morahan did a superb job of narrating this book. With both her natural Irish accent and the way she used different inflections ,it made it easy for me to picture in my mind which character was speaking, as well as "feel" the emotions of each character as the story progressed. I enjoyed her Irish accent as it blended nicely with the unique background setting and the characters.

I truly enjoyed this book and I am looking forward to reading the other books in the Dr. Kate Pearson series, especially if they are available in audio book format and are paired up with narrator Caroline Morahan! Five stars!
Profile Image for Maxine (Booklover Catlady).
1,286 reviews1,256 followers
December 23, 2016
Brilliant Irish crime fiction! Totally engaged me from start to finish.I can't believe I've not read more of Louise's books but can believe it's won a host of awards already. If you love crime, is you especially love crime featuring a top criminal psychologist then you need this in your life!

What can I say? The plot is riveting with a creepy sinister taint that I loved. Meet a creepy serial killer. Dead girls with red ribbons in their hair. The past and the present linked with dark secrets and you've got a winner.

I loved Kate Pearson. We meet her for the first time in this novel. She's a top criminal psychologist known for her work on some high priority cases and is called in to help the Garda (Irish police) find the killer behind the terrible deaths of young pretty girls. She's no perfect woman our Kate, she's flawed and very real. Brilliant at her job but with no picture perfect life.

The writing is detailed, engaging and thoughtful. The author writes like it's effortless. Exceptional talent. You know how some crime books "sound" the same? Written in familiar voices? Not this one. A cut above. Riveting. Classy.

This book has gone straight into my Top Ten Books of 2016. It's skipped the long list and the short list. I'm not sure where it will fall but pretty sure it's in my top five. I couldn't wait to get to bed each night to read this stunning novel.

I liked everything about it. Our killer gave me the creeps. I'd hate to meet them in a dark alley or on a sunny beach. *Shivers* Kate's racing against the killers clock to piece together who this person is before they take another life.

The book takes a dramatic twist near the end, you know it's coming as you are meant to but it's so thrilling when it gets there. I devoured every word from the first to the last. A gem of a novel. I have a new series I want more of, an author I love and admire and a character that is memorable in my range of fiction superheroes (with flaws).
6 stars. What? Can only go to 5? Unfair.

Read this book. Red Ribbons is brilliant!
I love the cover too, works perfectly.

I received a copy of this book from the author. All review opinions are my own and my review is totally unbiased.
Profile Image for Liz Barnsley.
3,402 reviews989 followers
October 15, 2013
When the body of a missing schoolgirl is found buried in the Dublin Mountains, her hands clasped together in prayer, two red ribbons in her hair, the hunt for her killer reaches epic proportion with the discovery of a second girl’s body 24 hours later.

First of all, this is how I love my crime fiction. Great story, complicated without trying to be TOO clever, one that gives your brain a work out and has terrific characters, all of which, even the minor ones, bring something to the story. And that in a nutshell is Red Ribbons.

Whilst it is clearly an introduction for the criminal psychologist, Kate Pearson, and what a great character she is – Louise Phillips also gives us Ellie Brady. Ellie, having been locked up in a mental institution since she murdered her daughter, may hold the key to the whole thing – and her story as it unfolds and as you learn of her pain is utterly compelling. I’ll leave that there – Ellie’s story is hers, no spoilers here.

As the police, and particularly the rather brusque but seemingly lovely O’Connor attempt to track a serial killer, Kate does her level best to send them down the right path. Highly professional, dedicated to her job, Kate often therefore takes other things for granted. Hey we all know that one right? It gives her a dash of realism – she is flawed yes, and highly readable. I’m very pleased that we are going to meet her again.

The story twists and turns its way to an exciting and satisfying conclusion…all in all a most terrific read. The Doll’s House sits on my shelf. I’m quite eager to get to it. Sorry though Kate Pearson, I have to find out what Inspector Lynley is up to first – but soon!

Happy Reading Folks!
Profile Image for Annmarie Miles.
Author 5 books17 followers
November 6, 2012
What an amazing book!
Fantastic, gripping story!
If you love Criminal Minds you'll love this!
Profile Image for Book Addict Shaun.
937 reviews278 followers
March 22, 2015
Louise Phillips is an author I have wanted to read since starting the blog almost a year ago, one of the many that came to my attention when I discovered this wonderful part of the Internet where readers, authors and publishers alike discuss books all day long. Sharon's (Shaz's Book Blog) Irish Fiction Week was the perfect time then for me to finally pick up Red Ribbons, and I am so glad that I did.

Red Ribbons focuses on three main characters. The serial killer, responsible for the murders of missing schoolgirls. The first of which is found buried in the Dublin mountains, two red ribbons in her hair. The discovery of a second girl leads to the police bringing in criminal psychologist Kate Pearson to get inside the mind of the killer before he strikes again. The third character being Ellie Brady, institutionalised for 15 years for the murder of her twelve-year-old daughter, we follow her story and it becomes clear that she could hold the key to finding the killer.

As always with books like this it is difficult to discuss the plot further than the blurb above yet what I would say is that it's one hell of a story. Red Ribbons drew real emotion from me as a reader, focusing as it does on the murder of young girls, something that can be difficult to read about yet compelling at the same time. For the most part I was unable to stop reading this book, such was my desire to reach its conclusion. The book is very much a mystery and with the reader wanting instantaneous answers to the questions thrown up along the way, I imagine that I'm not the only reader who was still wide awake at 2am turning the pages. The race to the conclusion in particular was very well done, addictive, heart-stopping, all the cliches, but brilliant. Knowing who the killer was did in no way detract from my enjoyment of the book, in fact it was all the more tense and chilling knowing who the killer was, and getting inside his warped and evil mind.

Louise Phillips creates a brilliant sense of atmosphere in Red Ribbons, almost transporting the reader from where they read and placing them inside the book. It's a quite chilling read in places. With the majority of chapters also being titled with where that particular chapter is taking place helping to build a more vivid picture in the mind of the reader. Louise clearly knows the setting, using it to full effect to enhance the story. The writing is incredibly strong as well, and the fact that this is a debut novel is astounding. The pace in the beginning was perhaps a little slow, but with setting the scene and introducing the characters that's to be expected. Other than that, brilliant.

Overall I really enjoyed Red Ribbons and do not hesitate in recommending it. A very promising start to a series that I know only gets better having read the reviews from my fellow bloggers for subsequent books.
February 2, 2017
Oh lord! Talk about a slog! I thought I'd give this one a try and boy, do I regret it! This was terrible, simply put. It suffers from two problems, a major and minor one. The major makes the minor seem a lot worse but whatever... There may be *minor* spoilers here.

The major: this book is entirely one of telling. What 'action' there is is sparse. Very, very sparse.

For example, 75% of the way through, the doctor's hubby leaves her. We're told this. We're told how things changed with a suitcase and how one was missing, and that this means her hubby left. We're not shown her coming home with her son in tow, to find the empty house or a note or anything. We're just given her thoughts.

This is how the book reads, from start to finish. There are bits and pieces of action, but those are the most mundane aspects of the plot. Like when the doc comes home and put her son to bed.

As a result, it makes it really had to emphasis with any of the characters. I don't give a damn about the doctor and her life. I don't feel sorry for Emma (or whatever the hell her name is.) I was never given the change to live these emotions with these people. Instead, it's like when you're on a bus and someone sit right down next to you and tells you all her woes, and you just want to flee (because WTF random stranger!) but you can't for another 10 minutes.

That's how reading this felt: oversharing strangers who I didn't give a damn about.

The minor problem: the conclusions are ridiculously stupid and a lot of the character actions are completely unbelievable. There's no easier way to say it then that. This is a doctor and her conclusions are just so blatantly obvious, yet everyone thinks it so smart. Such as, after finding a buried murder victim, the doctor announces to her chief that someone probably knows what happened here and is trying to hid it. And instead of the chief saying 'no shit, sherlock. she was murdered and buried', this is treated like a wise revelation from God.

The insane woman, too, makes no sense at all. Who comes home to find a dead daughter then burns the house down with her in it from grief because 'she can't go on'? This when she's married and has a younger son. Oh, and she conveniently keeps quiet about all this.

The major problem: this isn't told in story form. This is a collection of thoughts from the characters. As such, we're told 98% of what happens here. I think there's one tiny scene of the killer burying one victim and even that is told half with thoughts. Things just happen and we see *nothing* of it.
Profile Image for Samantha.
565 reviews54 followers
January 10, 2016
Summary from Goodreads:


When the body of a missing schoolgirl is found buried in the Dublin Mountains, her hands clasped together in prayer, two red ribbons in her hair, the hunt for her killer reaches epic proportion with the discovery of a second girl's body 24 hours later.


Desperate to find the murderer, police call in criminal psychologist Kate Pearson, to get inside the mind of the serial killer before he strikes again. But the more Kate discovers about the killings, the more it all begins to feel terrifyingly familiar as her own past threatens to cloud her investigations.


Ellie Brady has been institutionalised for 15 years, for the killing of her twelve-year-old daughter, Amy. After all this time, does Ellie hold the key to finding the killer of the Dublin schoolgirls?

What would you do if you were accused of killing your own daughter? What if those closest to you turned their back on you? And when everyone stopped listening, what next, when even you believe you're guilty?"

My Thoughts:

I feel like this year was such a great year in terms of finding great new authors to follow and Louise Phillips is definitely one of them! I read the above summary for this book and just knew that I wanted to read it. It wasn't available in my local library system so I couldn't help but add it to my Amazon shopping cart when I went on a book buying binge. This book was so completely worth it and I'm glad that followed my instincts on this one. I'm a sucker for any thriller with a hint of a mental institution being involved....something about that type of setting seems so entirely creepy to me that I just cannot resist. Add to that a storyline that involves a mother accused of killing her own daughter and I was completely sold by that point. This book didn't disappoint in the slightest and was just as dark and twisted as the summary portrays it to be. I admit to being fully hooked by this book from beginning to end. It was one of those books that just sweeps you up and doesn't let you go which was exactly what I needed. Really a great thriller and mystery all wrapped in one!

One of the things that I enjoyed most about this book was that this book was told from multiple viewpoints. This allowed for the reader to experience the different parts of this book in a way that ratcheted up the suspense level several notches. For instance parts of the book were told from the viewpoint of the killer and then other parts were told from the viewpoint of Ellie Brady who was the mother accused of killing her own daughter. I was a bit partial to Ellie's story as I could tell from the beginning that she was a bit of an unreliable narrator which I am a complete sucker for. I loved how we were given bits and pieces here and there of what happened to her daughter but it wasn't until the very end that everything began to tie together. The author did a really amazing job of fitting all of the pieces of the puzzles together in a way that really worked for me as the reader. I found the ending to be a heart pounding reading experience! I flew through those last pages reading as fast as I possibly could. Wow! I was left instantly wishing for more books like this one which means that I couldn't help but see what else this author has written. Thank goodness that I have more books in this series to look forward to (even if my wallet will be hurting because of it)!

All in all, I found this to be a really great read that left me so excited about this mystery series! I loved how easily I fell into this book and how hard I found it to set down. It was tense and filled with suspense which was exactly what I was hoping for. I cannot wait to see what kind of case Kate will find herself wrapped up in next. Easily recommended but especially to those mystery and thriller fans! I've already handed my copy off to my Mom for her to enjoy next.

Bottom Line: A thrilling read that I didn't want to stop reading! I need more!

Disclosure: I bought this book for myself as a bookish treat- now I need to buy the rest of the series.
Profile Image for Cleopatra  Pullen.
1,352 reviews298 followers
August 25, 2013
This is the perfect example of a good thriller, there is a cohesive plot line, not too many instances where the reader has to suspend belief and characters who you feel you know.

Red Ribbons is told from three main different viewpoints. Dr Kate Pearson who is a psychologist helping the police to discover the profile of a killer. A young girl was found buried in Dublin Mountains with red ribbons in her hair, soon afterwards another young girl is found, again with unknown red ribbons. Ellie Brady who is a patient in an asylum, incarcerated 14 years previously and our killer who is bored of his job, his colleagues and brooding over the recent death of his mother. As a reader there are plenty of clues to fit together, including how does Ellie's story connect to those of the recent dead girls? The Police are battling against time to stop the killer taking any more young lives and Kate is doing her best to guide them in the right direction whilst dealing with a less than happy domestic situation.

I found this book totally absorbing; one that I had to keep reading to find out how all the pieces of the puzzle would fit together. I am delighted to hear Louise Phillips has written The Doll's House due out August 2013.
Profile Image for Mary.
239 reviews32 followers
March 30, 2013
I came across this book recently in my local library and the blurb on the back cover looked interesting, so I gave it a go. It is a debut novel from an Irish writer and it is set in Dublin. It turns out that this is a rather good read and I hope that the writer continues with a series. The body of a young girl is found in a shallow grave in the Dublin mountains and the ritualistic manner in which the body is laid out gives D.I. O'Connor reason to consult Kate Pearson, a Psychologist, on whether or not this killer may strike again. The story is told from the point of view of the killer, the main investigation by the police and Kate Pearson and a third part about a lady called Ellie Brady, a 15 year resident of a Psychiatric Hospital, who is there because she killed her daughter. All in all, this is a well put together story, despite the fact we do know the killer pretty much from the start, but that does not take away from the overall plot and the dramatic ending. Well worth a read.
2,837 reviews52 followers
May 18, 2016
Kate Pearson has been a very successful criminal profiler but now works with young offenders to try and change their ways. She still hankers after profiling and jumps at the chance to help the police profile the killer of two young girls who gave been strangled and posed with red ribbons in their hair.
With all the glowing reviews I have been keen to read Red Ribbons for a while and never got round to it but I must admit to being disappointed in it. The plot premise is good - a disturbed killer picking young girls as victims but it runs out of steam pretty quickly and seems to go round in circles until a last gasp of action at the end. The novel is told from three points of view, a third person narrative from Kate and the perpetrator and a first person narrative from Ellie Brady who has spent the last 15 years in St Michael's psychiatric hospital for killing her daughter in a fire. On the whole it works well but it takes too long for Ellie's narrative to become relevant and much of it is little more than filler.
I'm now going to nitpick. Kate has a PhD so why is she always Ms and not Dr? If the novel is set in Ireland why is it always mom or mommy and not mum or mam? Annoying.
I like Kate. She has the usual working mum dilemma of work vs home life but she is also smart, dedicated and real. The perpetrator is straight out of serial killer 101 and it is hard to take him seriously.
I didn't find Red Ribbons engrossing and it took too long to get to the finale but there are some good things in it, like the plot premise and Kate's character so I'm going to read the next novel before deciding if this series is for me or not because at the moment the jury is out.
Profile Image for Rob Kitchin.
Author 44 books90 followers
December 26, 2012
Louise Phillips’ debut novel, Red Ribbons is a psychological police procedural set over a few autumn days. The story is told through three alternating voices: the killer’s, Kate Pearson’s and Ellie’s. Ellie’s voice in particular is very strong and engagingly written, but the characterisation of all three is well developed. In contrast, the other characters are a little thin and two dimensional. In particular, Detective Inspector O’Connor as the fourth central character is somewhat of an enigma and the reader learns little about him other than he’s an alpha male and under a lot of pressure. The writing is a little hesitant at first, but as the story unfolds it becomes progressively more assured and compelling, hooking the reader in. For the most part the plotting works well, though the timeline felt a little compressed, using a couple of plot devices to move the story along. Given the structure, where the reader knows the killer and his thoughts, the tale is more of a why-dunnit and whether he’ll get away with it than a who-dunnit. Yet, despite the relative transparency of the plot, Phillips manages to keep the tension high right to the final page. Indeed, from about halfway-on it was quite engrossing and I raced through to the end. Overall, an entertaining psychological thriller.
Profile Image for Fidelma.
89 reviews
September 10, 2013
It was a very enjoyable gritty psychological crime thriller with a gradual increase in suspense which has the reader quickly wanting to turn page over page to find out what happens right up to the very end. Enthralling stuff :)
51 reviews17 followers
January 4, 2016
I really liked this book, was pleasantly surprised and looking forward to reading other books of this author.
Profile Image for Louise.
Author 6 books210 followers
January 9, 2017
This is one of the most comprehensive reviews I've read on RED RIBBONS, shortlisted for best Irish Crime Novel of the Year. (Cormac O'Keeffe)

If you like psychological crime with strong characters - then this might be for you.

Red Ribbons may be about the hunt for a serial killer, but for me, what really stands out from this brilliant debut novel by Louise Phillips is Ellie, Ellie Brady.

Red Ribbons

Although not introduced until the fourth chapter (fifth if you count the prologue), some six months after the preceding chapters, Phillips http://www.louise-phillips.com/ hands us a fascinating, haunted character, who is trapped, mentally and physically.

Ellie’s opening scene sets the tone…

‘I am wearing some other person’s clothes, an unbecoming grey blouse and faded jeans. By now, I am used to such things. Everything I have belonged to someone else at one time or another, everything, that is, except the bits that matter. Sadly, the bits that matter are all mine. My short, brown hair is washed and tucked, childlike, behind my ears. I wear neither make-up nor jewellery. There is no need for such things here. I have no need for such things.’

Phillips paints moving and beautiful pictures of Ellie’s life in a psychiatric hospital…

‘I watch the sun creep through the small window in my room. There’s just a hint of it now, catching the bottom of the sill. It enters the darkeness as it does every day, climbing grey walls and pink chipped window frames; revealing itself discreetly, like some virginal bride.’

Ellie talks of how her life consists of doing ‘nothing things’….

‘More than most, I understand the concept of loneliness. I’ve lived it since the day I came into this place. When you’re institutionalised, you forget the way people in the outside world think. You’re no longer able to understand normality..I’ve seen how the day to day of doing nothing defies the logic of the human race outside the walls. Days soaked in routine..’

But her life begins to change with the arrival of a new doctor, Samuel Ebbs (a cool name, like a character plucked out of Wuthering Heights).

The second main character (the first character introduced) is William Cronly: the baddie. The first chapter didn’t engage me really and I found the descriptions of Cronly’s office colleagues a bit cardboardy, cut-out-types. But his own character is nicely outlined in subsequent chapters, often when at home..

‘Olive oil bottles were turned upside down, jars and tins cleared out with methodical knife-scraping, and tubes, especially toothpaste tubes, were flattened to perfection….Opening the kichen cupboards, he noted the consumables sorted into their relevant categories, the earliest sell-by dates to the front. Taking down the small tin chest of Mokalbari tea, he felt an immediate sense of pride, delighted with this little find from the nearby Indian shop. The tea not only tasted of malt but had a very distinct and splendid hint of elderberry,’ the latter fruit of particular relevance to him.

Cronly is every parent’s worst nightmare: intelligent and with a gift for connecting with children. There is a nice scene where Cronly remembers seeing one of his targets in the swimming pool…

‘He could still picture her from months earlier, placing those small toes in to test the water, pulling her hair back behind her ears before the dive. He had watched as the long strands of her hair had become immersed, floating to the top like seaweed. He had listened attentively as he heard someone call out her name: Amelia. It was such a pretty name for a young girl. He had thought she would be perfect.’

The author delves over the course of the book into Cronly’s relationship with his horrible mother and how a traumatic incident from his childhood helped twist him into what he became.

The third character is Dr Kate Pearson, a criminal psychologist at the top of her game, who is struggling with relationship/family problems and a childhood incident. There are some good descriptions of the scenes in the Dublin mountains where the bodies are buried and Kate’s insights into the murders and the killer.

I like the research Phillips obviously did with detectives regarding garda procedures, the conservation of scenes, forensic and technical examinations and garda case conferences.

For a longish book with over 100 chapters (albeit all short), the novel moves along at a fair clip. Tensions mount and the pace quickens further as the hunt for the killer intensifies, Ellie’s story intersects with the main plot and Cronly extends his targets. You could bang a drum on the book by the latter stages it is so taut and honed.

The novel is also technically interesting in that Ellie is written in the first person and everyone else is in the third. Phillips also uses different fonts to distinguish between the three main characters. In addition, there are chapters from the point of view of four other characters.

Red Ribbons (Hachette Ireland https://www.hachette.ie/BookDetail.as...) is out on small paperback today (May 1). Phillips’ second novel, The Doll’s House (another cool name) is out soon: August, I think. Sounds intriguing.
Profile Image for Kim.
329 reviews12 followers
September 19, 2017
In Ireland there's a serial killer preying on young girls. When found in their remote graves they look eerily similar. Posed as if in prayer, their hair is carefully braided with a distinctive red ribbon. 

Psychologist and criminal profiler Kate Pearson is assigned to the case. Each new grave gives her a deeper insight into the killer, helping her develop a profile. As she does her investigation we get brief first person narratives by the killer himself, and a surprising connection to Pearson may connect them in the distant past. Meanwhile, a psychiatrist at a facility for the criminally insane gradually learns from an inmate that these killings may go back much farther than anyone realizes.

Phillips does a good job of balancing the three themes that run through the book, bringing them all together at the end. We also get some flashes of Pearson's life as she struggles to balance work, parenthood, and a relationship with her child's father who resents her dedication to her work. 

For a series detective Phillips spends a remarkably small amount of word count developing Phillips as a character. There are hints of her past and present but nothing to make the reader want to support her as she goes through her investigation. We really learn more about the killer, telling his own story, than we do of Kate Pearson. The killer ends up being the most interesting person in the book, followed a close second by a woman whose daughter's death sent her spinning into a small hell. 

It's a fair read for a fan of detective or psychological mysteries. No great insights into Ireland or her people fall out of the book any more than a detective of depth, but the mystery is good with a good resolution.
Profile Image for Laura Pilcher.
164 reviews7 followers
November 6, 2013
Two girls are discovered buried in shallow graves. Both are laid out in a particular way, with their hair plaited with red ribbons tied in them. Dr Kate Pearson is a profiler who is struggling to find the balance between family and work. Together with DI O'Conner they try and predict the killer's next move. Ellie is in a psychiatric hospital for the murder of her daughter. The talks between Ellie and her new doctor run alongside the other story line until ultimately we see the connection.

I nearly put this book down as it was really fragmented. The beginning is really good then it slows down and for me stalls a bit. You have the serial killer, Kate and O'Conner, Ellie and her Doctor sections. Normally they would tie in or weave in and out of each other. In previous books I've read you are drip fed little hints and connections which is what makes you keep those pages turning. These threads didn't start to interact until about 60% into the book. I enjoyed the storyline and the psychological work ups on the Serial Killer. I only found the characters of Kate and Ellie had strong voices and had depth and complexity. We found out nothing about O'Dell, considering he was a main character.

The Climax was good but it was over so quick. I would have loved to know more of the killers story and the aftermath of what had happened. so 3.5 stars for me (rounded it up to 4). If there was a sequel I would probably still read it as I would love to know more about O'Conner.
Profile Image for Gina.
1,156 reviews92 followers
September 11, 2015
I raced through reading Red Ribbons even though I was reading 4 other books at the same time! It's a fast paced thriller with short cliff hanger chapters that left me wanting to read more and more. It was definitely a difficult book to put down. Phillips created believable characters that each had little quirks or small passages about their backgrounds that made the reader crave to know more about them. The story was told through 3-4 voices, depending on how you look at it, in alternating and like I said small, chapters. To aid in keeping track of who was narrating, each "voice" (chapter) was printed in a different font which I thought was a good way to help the reader along. The narrators were the serial kill, a woman accused of murdering her daughter years earlier (Ellie), the profiler (Kate), and in some cases the lead detective (O'Connor). In this way, we are sucked right in as we are allowed to see and feel everything as the story unfolds. This is a debut novel that is right up there with the best. I will definitely be reading the rest of the series. 5 stars!
Profile Image for Pam.
1,921 reviews29 followers
January 10, 2019
AUTHOR Phillips, Louise
TITLE: Red Ribbons
DATE READ: 02/19/2016
GENRE/PUB DATE/PUBLISHER/# OF PGS Crime Fiction / 2012 / Hachette Books / 405 pgs
CHARACTERS Profiler : Kate Pearson
TIME/PLACE: 2011, Dublin,Ireland
FIRST LINES He could have taken a direct flight from Dublin to Galileo Galilei airport in Pisa.
COMMENTS: Written from 3 major viewpoints: 1) William Cronly -- middle-aged man who has never recovered from an unidentified trauma occurring in Italy when he was a child; 2) Profiler Kate Pearson also a mother of young son & wife to Declan who is not very happy w/ all of Kate's intense focus on job before family and 3) Ellie -- a middle-aged woman who has been institutionalized for the past 15 yrs after her daughter died; Ellie had set the caravan on fire that they lived in. At first I thought this was just going to be "another" story of child abduction/killings etc but there were some unique story points that held my interest. Good read!
Profile Image for Kelly Spillane.
49 reviews11 followers
October 22, 2014
I absolutely loved this book! Louise Phillips did a great job in creating the perfect thriller!!!

I must admit that this is not the usual kind of book I would go for, buy the minute I started this book, I was glued to it.

I was kept interested from beginning to end. The main characters were do likeable and they seemed so real. The other thing I found was that the story seemed real and moved along at a great pace.

Once I opened this book I found it hard to close it again until I reached the very end! It's an absolute must read!!
Profile Image for Susan.
36 reviews2 followers
November 8, 2012
I thoroughly enjoyed Red Ribbons. It's a well paced thriller, with believable characters that you crave to know more about. It is told through three voices; the serial killer, the profiler and a woman accused of murdering her daughter years earlier. In this way, we are sucked right in as we are allowed to see and feel everything as the story unfolds. This is a debut novel that is right up there with the best of them!
Profile Image for Sandra.
Author 12 books23 followers
February 25, 2016
Not quite a four star but I prefer to round up rather than down for a first-time read author. This was a triple-strand novel where each strand, unlike the plaits that feature predominantly, are clearly marked in different type, a little unnecessarily I think since each voice is well enough defined for it to be quite quickly obvious who is who, especially with the chapter headings also indicating where the action is.
Place is also very well-evoked.
Profile Image for Sheila.
256 reviews11 followers
September 27, 2014
I absolutely loved this book, I found it hard to put down, and usually I like to take my time and savour a novel. Crime has always been my favourite genre and the psychological aspect interests me, so this ticked all my boxes. I will most definitely be buying all books featuring Dr. Kate Pearson.
Profile Image for Gary.
136 reviews1 follower
May 2, 2016
Enjoyable thriller. It's unusual to read a book liked this set in Dublin- it made it interesting. I found I was hooked until the end.
Profile Image for ReBecca.
645 reviews6 followers
October 14, 2020
This book..... ugh! I had such high hopes for it and was really excited to read it, but it didn't hit the mark at all. I found the book to be slow, long, and just painful. I lost interest very early on, but since it was a gift, I felt the need to finish it. There was a lot of unnecessary detail that could have been cut out and possibly made the book better. Each chapter is broken down into the point of view of Kate Pearson (Criminal Psychologist), the serial killer, and Ellie Brady (an accused woman who is currently in a psychiatric hospital). You also get chapters in-between of other characters' points of view. While there were some connections (some might call it twists) between some of the characters, at the end of the day, the book just wasn't worth my time. I sadly would not recommend this book to others.
Profile Image for Nancy.
923 reviews37 followers
August 10, 2019
Finished: 10.09.2019
Genre: CF
Rating: F
#TBR list 2019
Where do I start?
I start and end with .....no comment.
Taking the high road with this book!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 120 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.