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An early mist drifted in fragments around a young woman’s body. With her face twisted to the right and hidden by a tumble of copper hair, she looked like a careless sunbather. 

A Nice Place to Die


DS Ryan McBride is engaged in a coverup: he’d slept with the murder victim, and as his investigation proceeds, discovers he’s falling in love with her twin. Woollcott’s accomplished debut is a perfect blend of police procedural and domestic suspense, offering an unsentimental view of the tangled, complex relationships that exist between career and private life and the deadly consequences that can occur when the two worlds collide. The Belfast setting is rich in local color and as multi-faceted and nuanced as Woollcott’s characters who seem so real they must exist somewhere beyond the page. The dialog sparkles throughout. 

Joyce Woollcott is a welcome addition to the mystery landscape, a writer we look forward to seeing again, and soon. 

The novel should delight fans of Tana French and Hilary Davidson.

MARCIA TALLEY – Agatha and Anthony award-winning author of the Hannah Ives mystery series.


A conflicted police officer who falls for the sister of a dead woman on his own case. He knew he shouldn’t mix business and pleasure, but…

Life and death on the outskirts of Belfast, Northern Ireland – that’s already had its share of grief and tragedy. A Nice Place to Die has fast paced dialogue and a deep mystery that the author keeps unraveling like the skin of an onion. Like the dark complexity of Detective Sergeant Ryan McBride.

A brilliant debut by J. Woollcott. Certainly, one author to keep an eye on.

MIKE MARTIN – Author of the Award-Winning Sgt. Windflower Mystery series.

A real sense of authenticity, with great detail on settings. 

DR. KATHERINE RAMSLAND – Bestselling author of How to Catch a Killer.


FICTIONOPHILE - (Reviewer) A Nice Place to Die.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
It is always so gratifying when you start a new series, and try a new author, and your efforts pay off. This was an engrossing novel, essentially a police procedural but it also contained elements of domestic thriller and had a little romance thrown in for good measure.

The setting was in and around Belfast, Northern Ireland and featured members of the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland).

When DS Ryan McBride attends the scene of a murder, he quickly realizes that he knew the victim - had slept with her in fact. Should he confess his one night stand and be removed from the case??? He decides not to.

Later, he realizes that the victim had a twin sister, and he is also attracted to her, though he already has an 'on again, off again' relationship with his former girlfriend, Bridget. McBride is a diligent policeman who works long hours. He lives alone on a farm that he inherited from his grandfather. His only company is his faithful dog, Finn, a wired-haired fox terrier. He is quite close to his younger sister, Erin, a food blogger who often provides him with sustenance when he is too busy to cook for himself. He is somewhat estranged from his father, who is very disappointed in him. McBride holds an honours law degree and his father, a solicitor, assumed he would join his prestigious law firm. Instead, MacBride joined the PSNI.

His second in command, DS Billy Lamont is a family man. Married, with three little daughters that he is devoted to. Some of Lamont's attitudes and actions create a little levity during this very serious story.

DC Wylie, on the other hand, acts as McBride's nemesis. He is an odious man who just so happens to be the nephew of the Chief Inspector. He has a smug, entitled attitude, does little actual work, and has been fast-tracked for promotion...

The other members of McBride's team were all interesting to read about and added lots of interest to the novel. Hopefully they will have a more pertinent role in future books in the series.

Told essentially from McBride's point of view, we also hear from Kathleen McGuire, the murder victim. Her narrative takes place in the months leading up to her murder.

Kathleen found herself in a toxic relationship. Her lover was insanely jealous and controlling.

As her murder investigation continues, the body count rises. McBride faces some personal and professional challenges. The skilled blend of these story-lines was what I really enjoyed the most in this book. The author threw in a few plot twists that I had not anticipated, and ended the book with a scenario that left me with a smile on my face.

Highly recommended! I eagerly await the next title in this series "Blood Relations" which is due for publication next summer.


Lis Angus (Reviewer).

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
This is an excellent police procedural, with a great setting in Northern Ireland and a wonderful ensemble cast of characters. It's the first of a series featuring Detective Sergeant Ryan McBride—a flawed but dedicated police officer whose heart may go astray but ends up in the right place after all. This book has lots of tension and suspense, and builds to a satisfying ending. I'm looking forward to the next one in the series!

Michelle Coates - Reviewer

It's that most engaging of treats, a big, fat, intelligent thriller.

Sheryl Reynolds (Reviewer)  I love books that are set in Ireland and or the UK! I was hooked from the first page and loved how the story flowed so well and effortlessly. 
This ticked all of the right boxes for me when it comes to a thriller/crime book and I hope to read more by this author!

Kay O. - Reviewer.
This one kept me guessing and I loved the setting. A mysterious and twisty crime thriller.

Marlie W, - Media/Journalist.  Woollcott succeeds in every way:  a complex plot with subplots that eventually fit smoothly together, realistic dialog, excellent pacing, well-handled twists, scenery that adds to the story. I particularly admired the witty banter between co-workers, McBride's non-stereotypical flaws, and Woollcott's ability to add just enough Irish lingo to keep us interested but not confused. 

Hannelore C. - Reviewer. Wow, what a great book, I loved it! The ending is a shocker, I never guessed it. I can't wait for the second book, I'm very curious to see what happens next in his life and to revisit Belfast, which sounds like a beautiful city. Highly recommended! 

Karen Walker (Reviewer)

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
I thought this book was a really good physiological thriller, I was really looking forward to reading it and it didn’t disappoint. From start to finish it got you hooked and was a really well-laid out story with lots of very interesting characters who were so different, but was very good the way they were all able to be connected together. Would really highly recommend this book.

E. Vorbach Collins

Verified purchase

5.0 out of 5.0 stars…
I might know these people.

I don't typically read mysteries, though after reading A Nice Place to Die, I'm wondering why. The characters are so real I felt as thought they are people I might know. The plot is complex and engaging. I was captivated from the start. I look forward to Woollcott's next book.

Janaya K. - Reviewer.

What an amazing ride, my jaw literally dropped at the ending. If this is the 1st novel then I can't wait to see what the author brings out next. A must read!!

Sue W. - Reviewer. I really did enjoy this book.  Great story and plot.  Loved the cover.

Ron Batty. - Reviewer.…a remarkable crime thriller novel for her debut. The investigation into the murder of a young woman has many twists and turns that lead to a very surprising ending. The details of Police procedures and the setting in Belfast are described brilliantly. Well worthy of five stars and now waiting for the second in the series. 

Christina M. - Reviewer

This is a brilliant debut novel, a police procedural that ticks all the boxes for me. Loved it and I can’t wait for the next one.

Kimberly Miller. - Reviewer

…a great read about the dangers of mixing your personal life with business. 

Debbie B. - Reviewer

This book had plenty of twists and turns! It also had suspense, intrigue, action, great police work and a great who done it! I will definitely recommend reading this book....

Tabby S. - Reviewer

An entrancing police procedural murder mystery and great start to a new series. Pleasantly surprised at the quality of writing, research, and storyline, especially for a debut! The novel includes flawed but likable characters and is fast-paced. Looking forward to the next one. 

Sheila T. - Reviewer

This was an intense read…

Leila B - Reviewer
… I loved the book from the very beginning. A nice place to die is intriguing and surprisingly interesting from the first chapter. The story develops nicely and I love the style of writing. I also enjoyed that the story was set in Northern Ireland. Definitely want to read more from the author.

Richard Clemmons - Reviewer


…all of the characters are realistically portrayed, which made the novel more interesting to read. The dialog is natural and believable. The plot is credible. The plot moves quickly, and the story is entertaining. I liked this novel and I recommend it to followers of the genre. All in all, an excellent book. I think you’ll like it.

Michelle R - Reviewer

This start to the series was WILD. DS Ryan is messy and real… Top-notch police whodunit, for sure. Looking forward to the next in the series.

Kathy Honsharuk - Reviewer

" ...that scent of an Irish autumn, damp leaves and woodsmoke, hung in the air, while crows, black and boisterous, flapped and cawed in the dark trees." SOOOO well done, #ANicePlacetoDie" is a terrific read. … Woollcott creates a nice sense of place, with lots of red herrings and a tightly constructed plot. Highly recommend.

Aria H - Reviewer

This was a brutally raw and compelling read that I couldn't put down. It was well written with a gripping storyline and well developed characters. It was fast paced and twisty and I was kept guessing all the way through. An enjoyable read.

S. Lee - Reviewer

Thank you to the author and Dru's Book Musing for my free copy of this well-written, debut police procedural. I particularly enjoyed the Irish setting and sense of place. The narrative is third person, with Ryan as the main POV, but alternating flashback scenes from the POV of Kathleen, the victim. There are numerous plot threads, and while all of them get resolved in the end, they don't all fit together. Multiple crimes, multiple perps. The dynamic between Ryan and his colleagues is interesting, and it will be fun to see what they're up to next. This is the first book of a series.

Kristine Yankanich - Bookseller

This was a fantastic read!! I couldn't put it down. The characters and writing were so well done. The alternating timeline really made the book compelling.

Martin Connolly 

5.0 out of 5 stars
Police procedural set in Belfast. Very enjoyable.

Reviewed in the United Kingdom …

Nice book to read. I enjoyed it particularly because I’m from the same part of the world. You don’t often see The Bellevue Arms in novels, my old haunt. I don’t often read police procedurals so I learned a lot. It’s great to see a good ole cops & robbers set in Belfast.

Miriam Gonzalez - Reviewer

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
My first read from this author and WOW. Lots of twists and turns that had me edge of my seat. But I felt the ending left me hanging. Definitely would recommend and hope there is another story continuing.

Kara C - Reviewer
I really, really enjoyed this book. I love thrillers. The story was very well written and the characters in the were great too. The ending of the book was good. It took me by surprise


Isobel Robertson -Reviewer

This book held my interest all the way through! Very quickly moving from the investigator, the other policemen and the sister of the murdered girl. Even when the writer takes the reader back to "Before" it all flows so well with lots of red herrings planted very cleverly by this author.
Look forward to reading more by this writer.

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