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The First Cut

(Doctors of Darkness #3)

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  127 ratings  ·  50 reviews
There’s a thin line between love and murder.

When “Love Doctors” Ian and Kate Culpepper are brutally murdered in their Carmel mansion on Valentine’s Day, Ava knows it’s karma. Because Ian’s leaving her for perfect Kate four years ago had cut her bone deep. And then they had the nerve to show up here, on her turf. With their perfect house and their perfect daughter and their
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published January 8th 2018 by Ellery Kane Publishing
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Carrie (The Butterfly Reader)
Dec 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: december-2018
*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.*

First off, I think this one creeped me out more than the other two! I also love how the world keep connecting and we get to see things from past books come into play. I won't be giving any spoilers as this is a series you need to read all on your own, it's worth it! That being said, nothing is ever want it seems in this series, I thought about half way through that I had things figured out and then more crazy stuff just keeps happening
 Charlie  ✰ WLTB Blog ✰
Nov 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
This is my first book by this author and will not be my last.

I didn't realize that this was the 3rd book in the Doctors of Darkness series but I will be starting the first 2 books next. I am guessing each can be read as a standalone.

Such a good read it was full of mystery and intrigue. It kept me turning the pages I did think it was pretty fast paced. I did find it slightly slow at the start and I did find it hard to follow at first but when I got right into it I couldn't put it down. I don't wa
Heidi Lynn’s BookReviews
Dec 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
First, I want to thank Ellery Kang for providing me with this book so I can bring you this review.

The First Cut by Ellery Kane is the best psychological thriller that I have ever read from her. She grasped my attention at the prologue like no other book of this genre has before. From then on out it just more intense.

Kudos goes out to Giovanni Auriemma for unforgettable covers. Plus, Mallory Rock for the amazing job she has done on artwork inside. She is incredibly talented as I known her to wo
Kayla Krantz
Ava is a psychologist with a heavy past. She has her favorite clients and some that she merely tolerates. After the twin murders of famous love doctors Ian and Kate Culpepper are announced, she starts to see the ways that the celebrities affected her various patients. None of them are more affected than Ava herself. Her mysterious past is tied to Ian’s in a dark and tumultuous way. And that past is coming back to haunt her. Someone wants her to go down for their murders but who?

First thing about
4.5 Stars!

I did not realize this book was number 3 in a series until starting it. I was a little lost at the beginning but I quickly caught on. This is the first psychological thriller that I have read in a while and it was definitely a great pick!

I won't go into too much detail because I do not want to post any spoilers but this author's writing is captivating. I was sucked in from the very beginning! I absolutely love the use of newspaper articles and flashbacks to help tell the story and to g
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was my first time reading a book by this author. I received an advanced copy, in exchanged for an honest review.

This is book 3 in the Doctors of Darkness series. I have not read books 1 & 2 but I feel this series can be read in any order or as standalones.

The characters and the plot were intriguing, and the story line kept me wanting to turn the next page to find out who did it.
Great story, will definitely be reading books 1 & 2.
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
i think this is my favorite so far.. interesting.. fast paced.. kept me on the edge of myseat.. i needed to know what was going to happen so i kept reading as fast as i could. it was wonderful.
Rebecca Austin
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Madison Culpepper is 4 years old when her parents Ian and Kate are brutally murdered in their home. Known as the "Love Doctors" who could have killed them on Valentine's Day?

Dr. Ava Lawson is shocked by the murders but can't help think that it could be karma for Ian leaving her for Kate. Now Ava is dating police officer Luke Donovan and soon she finds herself under suspicion for the murders.

Can Ava clear her name and can she figure out who could be setting her up before she's found guilty?

This w
Feb 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: heidi

The First Cut
Doctors of Darkness, Book #3
By Ellery Kane
Author’s Website:
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi

To most people Ian and Kate Culpepper looked like the perfect couple. Beautiful. Rich. Successful. They were both psychiatrists who co-hosted the show, Love Doctored, to catch cheating spouses with their infamous Fidelity Five test.

However, Ava Lawson has a different view of the couple. She’s the ex-wife that Ian doesn’t even
Beverly Laude
Aug 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."
"Love and hate are two sides of the same coin."
"Secrets come unearthed, rising like bones from a shallow grave."

Dr. Ava Lawson is a woman scorned in more ways than one. Her ex-husband, Dr. Ian Culpepper, stole her idea for a hit TV reality show, "Love Doctors", then divorced her in order to marry his pregnant mistress, Kate. When the two are found murdered in their home, Ava becomes a suspect.

As the book progresses, many dark truths are revealed.
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Readers of Psychological Thrillers, Anyone
“The First Cut” is actually the third book in a series called the ‘Doctors of Darkness’, the first book being ‘Daddy Darkest’ and the second is ‘The Hanging Tree’. I don’t think this made much difference to my immense enjoyment of the book as plenty of back-story was provided.

‘Love Doctors’ Ian and Kate Culpepper are brutally murdered in their Carmel mansion on Valentine’s Day. To Ava, its fate because Ian left her for the perfect Kate four years ago. Then they made their home close to Ava, comp
Kathy Rouchelle
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Brilliantly written psychological suspense that will have you captured and held prisoner to the words you are reading. The story will have you mentally pointing fingers at each character that Ava comes into contact with. At times you think you know who the murderer is, then something happens that takes you in another direction. The guessing game will continue until at one point you will find yourself face to face with the killer, along with their new potential victims. Besides the story of the c ...more
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A weird mix of the ‘Love Doctors’ TV programme and a case of murder. The main character is Ava, the second ex-wife of Ian Culpepper – the ‘Love Doctor’ who is murdered along with his third wife – Kate. Ava thinks of it as karma! He ruined her life after divorcing her and remarrying a younger version, Kate, just some four years before. She had to keep their relationship and business life secret as part of her divorce settlement and moved to Carmel to get away from them. Only for them to move near ...more
Tamiko Rembert
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received a free copy of The First Cut from Hidden Gems Books for an honest review.

And, honestly, it was a GREAT read. I'd fallen into a reading slump, dreading reading even books I loved. I started reading this and thought I'd struggle my way through yet another book and then take a little break and just veg out in front of the TV for a couple weeks. Oh but no! While it did take longer to read because I'd convinced myself I didn't "want to," The First Cut was outstanding. And the perfect break
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"Only one of you left standing."
The bodies of Drs.Ian and Kate Culpepper were discovered at their home following Valentine's day.. The celebrity couple had been viciously stabbed, their four years old daughter, alive but mute, found been hiding in a safe place behind a bookshelf. On a mirror in the bathroom, the name Ava had been smeared in Ian's blood. Famous for a reality T.V.series entitled Love Doctored, in which people on the verge of divorce were brought together in confrontation, the psyc
Kelly cowee
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is my first book by Ellery A Kane. As I was reading the book, I was confused by the naming of the chapters and the back and forth of present and past. After a few chapters I caught on. The newspaper clippings were a nice touch. 

Ava was married to Ian Culpepper years ago. They divorced over the fact Ian was seeing someone else. That seems to be Ian's thing over the years. Ian then married Kate. They became known as the power couple called Love Doctors. Someone murdered them while their littl
A Book Lover's Emporium Book Blog
I truly love a suspense thriller. Looking at the fine details, trying to figure out a puzzle of the mind and motives behind it. The problem I usually have is I'm able to figure it all out about 30 per cent into it. That was not the case with this book!

The storyline was wonderful! From the moment I began reading to the very end, I could not figure out the who or why and that was exciting. There were so many twists and turns, I had no idea how this story would play out. The further along I read, t
Lita Thomas
Feb 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Final Cut (Doctors of Darkness #3) by Ellery Kane. This book is about Dr. Ava Lawson. She was once married to Ian Culpepper who was part of the love doctors. The women who has replaced her and Ian are now dead. This is a story of the solving of the crime of Mr. & Mrs. Culpeper's death, Ava's past relationship on how she became Mrs. Culpepper and her current obsessive relationship regarding her ex and her possible implication in his murder. Definitely another story with many twists and turns, ...more
Brianne Maffett
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars!

I did not realize this book was number 3 in a series until starting it. I was a little lost at the beginning but I quickly caught on. This is the first psychological thriller that I have read in a while and it was definitely a great pick!

I won't go into too much detail because I do not want to post any spoilers but this author's writing is captivating. I was sucked in from the very beginning! I absolutely love the use of newspaper articles and flashbacks to help tell the story and to g
Dina Maio
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have a love/hate relationship with books like this.  I love the stories, but hate writing the reviews.  Writing a review is incredibly difficult when you don't do spoilers.  I would never do that!  Especially not with this book. It is very hard for me to say much of anything about this book without giving something away.  And I would never spoil this story for you.  This is my favorite kind of book - one where I don't have it all figured about by half way through.  This book was SOOOOO not tha ...more
Christine C
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What an intense book! We experience this story through the eyes of Ava, a psychologist and ex-wife of Ian Culpepper, famed TV relationship doctor along with his new wife, Kate. However, we are not sure we can trust Ava's perspective. Especially since all evidence points to her being the murderer of Ian and Kate.

Complicating matters is the fact that her boyfriend of a year, Luke, is a cop, along with his brother and father, who is the lead detective on the case. The book goes back and forth betwe
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Received an advance copy and loved it
i am a very fast reader, sometimes reading two or three books a week, and only when i find a book worthy, do i slow down and savor every word. Just finished this, with tears in my eyes and throat. watching the build up and being stopped time and time again by a memorable phrase that made me think, made me feel. Some authors have many one or two or three of these in a good book, while i didnt count, there must have been at least 30 of them. Don't want to start
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Chilling, haunting, and brilliantly written. I loved this book and admit I didn't sleep so I could finish it. Ellery Kane manages to squeeze every last drop of terror and psychosis out of her characters, drawing us in so deep that we start to question what we thought we knew about the characters and about ourselves. The lingering doubt, the questions, the nervous biting of nails and clenching of teeth... All the brilliant side-effects of this author's incredible approach to this genre. Would giv ...more
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Love Ellery Kane! I wait for her books to come out,then I read them as fast as I can to see what kind of psychological mayhem she will bring and I have not been disappointed as yet! This is the 3rd installment in this series and it hits that spot that craved a good, creepy, twisty book that would hook me by the teeth and pulled me through this long cold winter now I am waiting again! Thank you Ellery Kane for writing another awesome book in the Doctors of Darkness series and letting me have earl ...more
Linda Romer
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, reviews
Wow! The First Cut was great! I loved it. I am going to read the first two books in this series. A Psychological Thriller that keeps you guessing until the end. This book really had me on end. All through the book I had this creepy feeling. Dark thoughts, wondering, have I done anything I'm ashamed of? Ava was an amazing character that really spoke to you. I loved the way the Author wrote the story and I'm so going to read all her books.

I give The First Cut 5 stars for it's great story.
I would
Maria Angie Mendoza
Feb 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Book 3 in the Doctors of Darkness and my favorite.
Fast paced, exciting and captivating from beginning to end. Things are not what they appear.
This chilling thriller was suspenseful and even though it can be read as a standalone some characters from the other 2 books make appearances adding to the story. Having read the prior 2 books helped me understand their roles.
I certainly will be reading more from this author!
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
I really didn't care for this book. It was so slow and to me was just so ridiculous. There are murders, affairs, a child who saw it all, stalkers and bad policemen. Just was over the top. I didn't care for the writing nor the story. The end just wrapped up in a nice little bow. My favorite genre is psychological/thriller/murder, this just didn't do it for me. I gave it 2 stars as it wasn't horrible but it wasn't good. My rating for 2 stars is it was "ok" ...more
Jessica Mitchell
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow what a side gripping story. Kinda scary too, if you think about it. Just like her others I just couldn't put it down to save my life lol. Lots of detail and has you hanging on every page trying to figure out who did what or it was all a fabricated dream.
Ava is a doctor in psychology. Everything seemed great once she got on with her mundane life of being divorced. But her obsession with her ex-husband might just kill her if she doesn't watch out.
Isis Ray-sisco
I found this book interesting. I really enjoy this author and the stories she tells. They are not for everyone. They are quite intense in nature. There are were a lot of ups and downs within these pages. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy psychological thrillers. This author does a good idea at taking you places you wouldn't normally go...I am sure others will enjoy this book as much as I did. ...more
Dee Winston
Jan 06, 2019 rated it liked it
For Ava Valentine's day is not usually hearts and flowers. It's a day that for many years bring her heartache and pain. Why would this year be any different. This book will definitely keep you on your toes and guessing. For me this book was slow in building its momentum. It finally started picking up near the end. Ava was definitely an interesting character. ...more
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Forensic psychologist by day, novelist by night, Ellery Kane has been writing--professionally and creatively--for as long as she can remember. Just like many of her main characters, Ellery loves to ask why, which is the reason she became a psychologist in the first place. Real life really is stranger than fiction, and Ellery's writing is often inspired by her day job. Evaluating violent criminals ...more

Other books in the series

Doctors of Darkness (4 books)
  • Daddy Darkest (Doctors of Darkness, #1)
  • The Hanging Tree (Doctors of Darkness #2)
  • Shadows Among Us (Doctors of Darkness #4)

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140 likes · 21 comments
Dear Ava,

I know you hate this sort of thing, so I'll be brief. Today is not your favorite day. It's cursed apparently, for good reason. But if you let me, I promise to change that. I'll make every day your favorite day. You'll be my favorite person, and I'll be yours (if you'll have me). I've told you a hundred times I love you, and I'd wait forever for you to say it back. Don't make me. Please say you feel the same.

But tell me tomorrow, since anything that starts today is doomed.


“Ava rolled onto her side to get a better view of Luke. He stood at the dresser, his back to her, his lower half wrapped in a towel. The only light came from the cracked bathroom door, a thin spotlight splitting his shoulder blades.

"I'm watching you," she teased.

She couldn't see his face, but she could picture it breaking into a lazy grin. Luke smiled a lot. And she like making him smile. could it really be that easy--that simple and straightforward, just as he'd promised her?

"In that case, let me give you something to look at." The towel dropped to his feet, pooling without a sound.”
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