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Too Close to Breathe

(Frankie Sheehan #1)

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  1,534 ratings  ·  334 reviews
Perfect for fans of Tana French, Jane Casey and Gillian Flynn


Polished. Professional. Perfect. Dead. Respected scientist Dr Eleanor Costello is found hanging in her immaculate home: the scene the very picture of a suicide.


DCS Frankie Sheehan is handed the case, and almost immediately spots foul play. Sheehan, a trained profiler, is seeking a m
301 pages
Published by Dutton (first published April 5th 2018)
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Average rating 3.64  · 
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 ·  1,534 ratings  ·  334 reviews

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Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Olivia Kiernan wites a highly disturbing police procedural featuring DCS Frankie Sheehan set in the darker side of Dublin. Frankie has returned to work after a serious attack in which Tracy Ward was murdered. She is far from recovered, afflicted by a form of PTSD, but she needs to be back at work if she is to stand any chance of emerging from her trauma. With the upcoming trial of Tracy's killer, Frankie is dealt the suicide of the beautiful controlling Eleanor Costello, a microbiologist found h ...more
Chris  C - A Midlife Wife
For a first novel... really damn good!
A brand new author has just blown the socks off of the police procedural crime fiction genre and I am excited to be chosen to review this baby!

I have to say, this book does have some quirks to it. The author chose a unique manner to develop her main character, Detective Frankie Sheehan. Many times, in the first few chapters, you may think perhaps you were reading another book in a series.

However, we are getting flashbacks to anothe
May 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Olivia Kiernan shows a lot of promise in this debut and series opener, based primarily in Dublin, it features some horrifying murders. A mesmerising mixture of murder, betrayal, and secrets, this is a police procedural that I very much enjoyed. DCS Frankie Sheehan feels like a character who has her own baggage, and story to tell, I do appreciate it when the investigators in a book are fleshed out in such a way as is done here. The author does a great job of developing her characters throughout t ...more
Liz Barnsley
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really rather excellent crime thriller from Olivia Kiernan - with an engaging and often fascinating main protagonist, a cleverly plotted mystery and the start of a new series, so really all to the good.

I found Frankie to be a terrific anchor to the story, you feel there is a lot more to get to know about her which is always the best way to start off, the writing is beautifully immersive and the killer dark and dangerously compelling.

Plenty of twists and turns along the way but what I liked ab
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I do have many favourite novels, it's just something that happens to me. I expect it does to you too?


Four murders. Each may have a connection. Eleanor Costello is called Dr Costello at the university college Dublin. When Eleanor is found hanging from her bedroom ceiling at first it was classed as a suicide. Amy Keegan who was having an affair with Eleanor’s husb
Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan returns to the job after an horrific assault and is handed a case that, on the surface, looks like a suicide. It doesn’t take long for her to determine that this is anything but a self-inflicted death.

Throughout the story, Frankie flashes back to what happened to her while answering a call for police assistance. Her plight was gradually revealed, sometimes overlapping into the current investigation. All the while, she and her team are challenged wi
Apr 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: physical-arcs
Is there anything better as an avid reader than reading an amazing debut?! Anyone that reads a lot of crime fiction, and police procedurals in particular knows that at times the genre can feel a bit repetitive, stale even, but I can honestly say that this one was far from boring, it was a fantastically strong debut, really impressive.

Frankie is the ultimate flawed lead character, I genuinely liked her and found her to be an interesting person AND her past was totally intriguing. The case she’s w
Chandra Claypool (WhereTheReaderGrows)
There's just something about a flawed protagonist that I just love. Frankie is certainly that. After dealing with a horrible experience from her past case, she's back and what should be a run of the mill suicide case turns into a murder case that puts her right back into the danger she was hoping to avoid coming back into the force.

A solid debut series but doesn't really give you anything different from most procedurals out there. The author does showcase PTSD and the lasting effects of a trauma
Apr 24, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first of a series, featuring Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan. Frankie was injured during her last case and is obviously still feeling traumatised by the events; especially as she has to deal with the forthcoming case in Court. However, she will have little time to dwell on events, as a new case is about to take over her thoughts, and her time.

Dr Eleanor Costello was a successful, and focused, academic microbiologist. Found hanging at her home, her death initially seems
♥ Sandi ❣
3.75 stars Thanks to Dutton Books and Penguin's First to Read for a chance to review this ARC. Published April 5, 2018

This is a debut novel and the first of a new detective series that takes place in Ireland.

The main protagonist is Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan - a female detective. She has just returned to work from an on the job injury having been stabbed in the face after going into a crime scene alone - refusing to wait for back up. No sooner is she back to work than she is
Apr 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
With all of the dozens of books about police chasing serial killers, here's one that actually does it right. Kiernan offers us a book that is tough to put down and easy to finish in one day. It feels authentic, realistic, honest. There's nothing over-the-top or cartoonish about it. Frankie Sheehan rings true as a character and her investigation feels right, chasing dead ends, false leads, clues, and answers that are just out of reach. Very well-written. Thanks to Penguin for providing a copy for ...more
Lauren Stoolfire
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Too Close to Breathe by Olivia Kiernan is a dark, intense, and addicting debut. I'm so glad I stumbled on this atmospheric suspenseful crime thriller at the library - a patron had just read it and totally sold me on it. I loved diving down the intricate rabbit hole of the central mystery. There are so many tantalizingly clever twists and turns to wrap your head around. The story is tightly plotted enough that the reveals don't feel like they come entirely left field, but the author still managed ...more
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
"A smile can hide many secrets."


Too Close to Breathe has a very interesting premise - a profiler realizes that the suicide she was looking into was actually a murder, and then chaos ensues.

Unfortunately, the way the story was told was not for me. I was frustrated by Too Close to Breathe. It was very slow-paced, and I don't feel like the ending was worth the wait. A ton of characters are introduced in this novel (it's the first book in a series), and it makes everything get convoluted. It be
Julie Lacey
Apr 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a great start to a new series.
A body is found hanging and at first it seems to be suicide but several things point to someone else being involved in the death.
Frankie is asked to investigate and soon another body is discovered burning on a bonfire.
Frankie and her team have their suspicions but keep coming up against a brick wall. Frankie is recovering from a nasty attack during a previous case and gradually throughout the book, we learn what happened to her.
There are some disturbing
Kris - My Novelesque Life
2018; Penguin Group/Dutton

I liked this novel, but at times I did find the story a bit slow. Frankie Sheehan has great potential for a flawed character, but still just remains sort of an interesting character. Frankie returns to the police force too soon, and finds herself a bit over her head. As this is a debut book, and I can see the series getting better, I rated it 3.5 stars and will read the next book.

***I received a complimentary copy of this ebook from the publisher throug
Jun 14, 2018 rated it liked it
I won this book in a goodreads drawing.

A woman is found dead, strangled to death. There is a video of it happening in a blue room. An Irish detective has to find the culprit, despite PTSD.

A little slow, but not bad at all.
Joanne Robertson
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
The cover of Too Close To Breathe blew me away as did the publicity campaign that accompanied my paperback ARC. So it was with great excitement that I started to read it. But to be honest after reading the first few pages I was a bit confused! Had I missed something? I thought I was reading a debut but it read like I had missed the first book in series! Once I realised I hadn’t and that what had happened to DCS Frankie Sheehan hadn’t been shared previously then I began to relax into the plot mor ...more
Despite my love of thrillers, one subgenre that I tend to stay away from is the police procedural - I'm just not a big fan of storytelling that relies heavily on a set formula. But I decided to pick up Too Close to Breathe anyway, because you know me, I'll read anything if it's Irish.

And I mostly really enjoyed this. I think part of it is that it's been so long since I read a police procedural that I was ready for a foray back into the genre. It's still not my favorite type of thriller, and I pr
Mandy White (mandylovestoread)
Sep 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audible
A graphic serial killer book set in Ireland. Great story and interesting characters. Looking forward to reading more in this series. Fantastic narrator as well!!
The Lit Bitch
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lately I’ve been trying to branch out and read more thrillers, especially more modern thrillers. They are usually quick reads for me and I sometimes get stuck in the ‘past’ reading a bunch of historical mysteries that I think it’s 1880 rather than 2018 so, breaking things up is a good thing for me.

This one came up and it’s from an author that I have never heard of but I saw that the book was set in Dublin which I thought made the book sound different and interesting. I have also seen it compared
Apr 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow, where do I start! What a debut, I loved this novel! The Irish setting was a big bonus but the true winner for me was DCS Frankie Sheehan. She's just been cleared to return to duty after a brutal attack. Her first case seems to be an apparent suicide but things are looking a bit off after the autopsy. The more they learn about the seemingly perfect Dr. Eleanor Costello who at first was thought to have hung herself the more twisted the trail gets to finding her killer. The team has several fa ...more
A good start to what I hope is going to be a great series. Dublin doesn’t feature too strongly on the novel but with the Irish history and heritage, not to mention some Irish humour, there’s no mistaking where this is set.

It does get in some very dark subject matter mind - BSDM and down and dirty bars...oh and then there’s the dark web....

Oh and what about the PTSD? Frankie, our main character has some dark issues, and what’s exciting is what we;re going to find out about her in the next books i
Elaine Tomasso
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would like to thank Netgalley and Quercus Books for an advance copy of Too Close to Breathe, a début police procedural featuring Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan of the Dublin Gardaí.

Frankie is still recovering physically and emotionally from an attack where she failed to save Tracy Ward and was injured herself by the killer, when she returns to work to investigate the suicide of university lecturer Eleanor Costello, except the post mortem concludes Eleanor was murdered. Frankie and her te
Kim Ebner
Dec 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fairly disturbing police procedural, one that I really enjoyed. DCS Frankie Sheehan is on the case of a woman found hanging in her bedroom. For obvious reasons the death doesn't seem suspicious at first and it's classified as a suicide. But then Amy Keegan who was having an affair with the dead woman's husband also turns up dead. It doesn't take long before there are more deaths, and all of these people seem to be linked. The case takes a dark turn when Frankie and her detective collea ...more
Mar 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When respected microbiologist and part time lecturer, Eleanor Costello is found hanging in her bedroom in Wicklow, it appears at first sight to be a clear case of suicide. However Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan is not convinced, and very soon the case is upgraded to that of a murder enquiry.

Having been very badly injured in a previous case, Frankie arrives back to the team and is raring to go – she even refuses the offer of chocolate cake, provided especially to celebrate her ret
Too Close to Breathe is a police procedural featuring DI Frankie Sheehan as the main investigator. Early on it is apparent that she has suffered a traumatic attack at the hands of a murder suspect. This had me question whether this book was a sequel to another book. I wasn't quite sure if this experience was just backdrop in order to better understand the main character's psyche or if it had any connection to the current case. Overall, Too Close to Breathe was an enjoyable read (I read it in one ...more
Pedal to the metal from the very first page. Suspenseful and dark - oh so dark. This one really creeped me out. But I love Irish procedurals so I kept going. I look forward to the next book featuring Frankie.
This is set in Dublin, Ireland. And yet it wasn't all that different than most U.K. procedural police fare. I didn't get that particular city "feel" like I do for so many of these location savvy police / copper fare.

It's written to close cut characterizations, especially for Sheehan. The coppers are done well. All seem skinny as sticks. Food is definitely not a pivot of any of their lives. LOL! But other than that, I don't see much of "norm" Irish culture in this novel. Why? Because this perp s
Mar 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A woman is found hanging from a beam in her bedroom. Police quickly rule out suicide and although there are very little clues, Detective Frankie Sheehan and her team zero in on one suspect. Unfortunately, the person seems to have disappeared and they have a hard time tracking him down. When a second woman is found murdered, the pressure is on. Meanwhile, Frankie is dealing with her own issues. She’s still carrying the scars from an attack that left another young woman dead. The trial for the kil ...more
May 27, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I received a free digital copy of this book from the publishers via NetGalley.

I also have a video review for this book, which can be seen here:

Too Close to Breathe, is a police based mystery thriller novel which features some truly horrific murders. This novel is set primarily in Dublin, Ireland and did a fantastic job at reminding you of the setting often. The language often used in the book would have Irish slang in it, though it was easy to understand
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Olivia Kiernan is the author of TOO CLOSE TO BREATHE, a crime thriller where DCS Frankie Sheehan investigates the murder of Dr Eleanor Costello. At first glance the murder appears uncomplicated but soon spills out onto a dark canvas of fear, lies and murder.

Olivia Kiernan grew up in the Irish countryside, a background which left her with a great appreciation of storytelling. Being almost sensible

Other books in the series

Frankie Sheehan (4 books)
  • The Killer in Me (Frankie Sheehan, #2)
  • If Looks Could Kill (Frankie Sheehan, #3)
  • The Murder Box

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