“Dark Heart” by Catherine Lee is an intriguing mystery that invites us to join Charlie Cooper and his newest partner, Quinn, on a wild journey to rescue the latest victim of a serial killer after he is found dead. This fast-paced psychological thriller is a must-read for any mystery buff.


It is said that the best decisions are the ones that are taken from the heart. If the heart is in the right place, everything works out in the end. But, what happens when you wake up to find that the heart beating in your chest is no longer yours in the most literal sense? In Catherine Lee’s “Dark Heart,” long-time heart patient Eva Matthews thought a heart transplant would give her a new lease on life. Contrary to the expectations of Eva and her family, she starts being plagued by disturbing nightmares ever since the surgery. Things take a turn, when journalist, Andrew Fox, comes to visit her out of the blue. Fox’s wife, Amanda, had been kidnapped by the Adultery Killer, Grant Fraser. Fraser had been found dead in his apartment. However, there was no trace of Amanda. For the most disturbing reason, Fox thought that Eva would be the one to help him find his wife.

On the other hand, the discovery of Fraser’s dead body and his identity as the Adultery killer put a dent in Detective Charlie Cooper’s plans for the future. He had been on the serial killer’s trail for almost a decade to no avail. Just when he was about to give up and move to a more sedate job role so that he could spend more time with his family, Fraser’s body turns up. Now, he is filled with a renewed sense of determination to find Amanda, the last victim of the brutal killer. In addition to that, he is driven by the urge to find the person who killed the killer.

Will Cooper and Fox be able to rescue Amanda in time? Is she even alive? How are Eva and her new heart related to the case of the Adultery Killer? Will her nightmares ever stop and give her a chance to finally lead a normal life? Will Cooper be able to catch the culprit who murdered the serial killer? How will the case affect his life?

“Dark Heart,” penned by Catherine Lee is a fast-paced novel that keeps the reader hooked from the beginning to the end. Lee leaves red herrings so surreptitiously that it boggles our heads when we finally resolve the mystery in the end. I am confident that anyone who is fond of murder mysteries would love reading this book. There is an edge to this thriller. The killer is already dead when his identity is discovered. So, it is up to Detective Cooper to get inside his head to trace the latest victim. This adds a psychological bent to the story. With the help of Dr. Max Christie, we, along with Cooper and Quinn, find ourselves trying to piece together the complicated mind of Fraser Grant. This is no easy task as Grant was as evil as one can be. However, Lee with her brilliant writing made us want to understand him, even if just a little.

The book also explores the subject of cellular memory. Despite popular opinion, I have always thought that cellular memory is legitimate. In addition to the brain, our memories are retained by every cell of the body. This theory does not have much scientific explanation so is dismissed by most. Catherine Lee, with her logical and persuasive writing, handles the topic in a manner that I am sure will intrigue many. She does not force anyone to believe it, but only presents facts.

The author makes sure that all her characters are well-developed. Lee portrays the different shades of the bond between a father and his child masterfully. While Eva’s father, Alan, had always been a pillar for her, Jack Simpson did not quite know what to do with his son, Fraser Grant. It is indeed a treat to see Charlie Cooper interacting with his sons and wife. I loved how Quinn easily connected with Cooper’s eldest. The little toddlers were a welcome breath of lightness in the story. Charlie’s wife, Liz, was admirable. She took whatever life threw at her in stride. In the beginning, Charlie was just thinking of wrapping up the case so that he could move on to the next phase of his life. So, the young Quinn seemed like a temporary partner to him. I loved seeing them both gradually become closer. One more bond that is worth mentioning is that between Eva and Andrew Fox. The two strangers connected in a manner that was quite unexpected. Also, I liked Eva’s friendship with the vivacious Taylor. Eva’s mother, Brenda, is one character who I did not know if I wanted to love or not. But one thing is for sure, she was indeed a strong lady.

The first book in the ‘Charlie Cooper Mysteries’ is a thrilling roller-coaster ride that makes us immersed in the characters’ lives. Moreover, the fine editing makes it a seamless read. The vivid descriptions make us feel that we are there with Cooper and Quinn as they rush about Sydney in their pursuit to solve the case. Lee indeed enlivens the city in her novel. I can hardly wait to join Cooper and Quinn as they set out to solve their next case in the second book of the series.

Book Details

  • Title: Dark Heart (Detective Charlie Cooper Mysteries Book 1)
  • Author: Catherine Lee
  • Genre: International Mystery and Crime, Police Procedurals
  • Publication Date: 31 July 2013
  • ISBN or ASIN: B00E9IN7VS
  • Number of Pages: 304
  • Minimum Audience Age: 15

Book Themes

(Note: 0=none, 1=a few, 2=considerable, 3=pronounced, 4=excessive)

  • Sexual themes: 3
  • Religious themes: 0
  • Violence, self-harm, etc.: 3
  • Crude language, expletives, swearing, etc.: 2
  • Other adult themes: 2


  • Content: 5 stars
  • Writing Style: 5 stars
  • Appeal to Target Audience: 5 stars
  • Uniqueness: 5 stars
  • Editing: 5 stars
  • Other factors: 5 stars
  • Overall: 5 out of 5 stars

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By Kajori Sheryl Paul

Reading is my passion, and writing is my compulsion. I started reading from a very early age. Since then, I have not stopped. I have garnered this addiction from my father. I have always loved reading his books. As you can see, books are my world. I escape this world to traverse the world of my books. Naturally, I have an affinity to create worlds of my own. There are thoughts constantly swirling in my head. These are the thoughts that I jot down. Sometimes, they become poems while sometimes stories. More often than not, they are just reviews of the plethora of books I read and the things I do.

One thought on “A Book Review by Kajori: “Dark Heart” by Catherine Lee”
  1. Ooops. I’m guessing Eva inherited the murderer’s dark instincts along with the life-saving organ. And the questions you raise about cellular memory are fascinating. I’ll have to look into that. And I’ll definitely add this novel to my TBR list.
    Thank you!

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