Reviews - A Taste of Evil

Famous novelist Julia Raymond is found brutally murdered in the grounds of her estate in the English Lake District. Her death throws suspicion on her husband and sister, both of whom have reasons to want Julia dead.

The discovery of another vicious murder of a woman in nearby woods terrifies the close-knit community and police suspect the work of a serial killer who appears to be obsessed with Julia. Unable to leave the scene of her crime, Julia’s spirit watches as the police investigation gradually reveals her family’s terrible secrets.

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This book is a real page turner with a most unusual perspective. Like the Academy Award winning 1950 film noir, Sunset Boulevard, the narrator of the story is the murder victim and it easier to accept that premise than might be imagined. The Australian author has set the story in the beautiful English Lake District and there are several credible suspects, including members of the murdered woman’s family. The feisty spirit of the victim/narrator is determined to follow the police investigation into her own death and in the process she discovers some uncomfortable revelations about her family members and is shocked by their less than flattering opinions about her. She herself is a snappy, humorous character and there is a surprising amount of amusement in the midst of the tension as we try to work out who is the murderer. The victim’s funeral, for example, provides several funny moments and the protagonist has a sense of humour about herself. She says to herself at one point: ‘I was feeling sorry for myself. Abused, cheated on and now murdered. And I did try to be nice to people … most of the time’. This insight captures her character well and is indicative of the sort of discussion she necessarily has to have with herself during the investigation.
Within the unusual framework the story is a well-plotted police procedural with interesting details about seemingly well-researched investigative procedures. The Lake District setting is a significant component in the story and is used effectively. Most particularly, the suspects are very well drawn. They are all flawed and recognisable people and Carlisle portrays their behaviour, motives and reactions very skilfully as various secrets are revealed during the murder investigation. The twists and turns of the story keep shifting suspicion from one possible culprit to another. The suspense is cleverly maintained as we follow our victim/narrator when she listens in to conversations among the suspects or looks on as the police question them. Sometimes she is very annoyed because, although she can transport her spirit to another place instantly, she cannot be in two places at once and she misses some of the action – and so do we. The writing flows well and the dialogue is convincing. Carlisle’s previous books were successful romance novels and she has transferred her skills extremely well to the thriller genre. This is a very satisfying read and hopefully Carlisle will produce more thrillers in the future – Review by Lesley Vick - Sisters-In-Crime.


A Taste of Evil is a spellbinding read. The storyline is intense, and Julia is remarkable in all her actions, as someone experiencing something in the afterlife experience. This reader enjoyed all the visual effects in the book. It was as if watching it on a big screen, the intensity of the surroundings could be felt and heard. Christina Carlisle composes a thriller that is edge of the seat suspenseful. The writing is tight, the expressions so full blown, especially when it comes to Julia facing the ones that don’t see her. The secondary characters indeed acted out their parts wonderfully. This reader cannot say enough about this positively absorbing read. Reviewed by: Linda L. Fallen Angel Reviews

Total Score: 50/50 +Recommended Read
Intro: 5
Characters: 5
Plot: 5
Setting: 5
Relationship: 5
Dialogue: 5
Synopsis: 5
Pacing: 5
Conflict: 5
Mechanics: 5

A Taste of Evil is a pacy thriller that grabbed my attention from the opening sentence and didn't let go until the end. The strengths of the book are its emphasis on correct police procedure, its diversity of well-drawn characters, its tight plotting and its convincing dialogue. The plot has an enormous assumption built in to it which you can either accept or reject. Once you accept this - I won't spoil it - then the book flows. The author's experience of writing romance stories shows through in her ability to handle emotions and human interactions tellingly. Almost no one in this book is perfect but none of them are totally black and white and all of them respond in one way or another to the stresses the author subjects them to. I loved her portrayal of the police officers involved in the investigation. Setting is important in this story and the author uses it to good effect in creating a portrayal of the English Lake District as well as British society and the legal system. Forensics, attention to detail and insistence of sticking strictly to acceptable investigative practices mean that in the end, the villains don't stand a chance. There is much humanity and insight into motivation and the influence of emotions on behaviour, which I found rewarding. A book which reflects the proud tradition of British crime writing (although the author is Australian). Highly recommended! David Kilner Aug 25th 2013 Smashwords

I have put the book down. It is done. I know who dunnit. That is the gift - devising a plot wherein the reader is thinking about it while running around and doing other things. This author has the master's hand - an ease of style, good character development, very neat structure and a light touch on descriptive embellishment. A disciplined professional, I'd say. Clean prose. Does not succumb to over-writing. Hence, the narrative has a clear flow and the reader's involvement is not undermined by flourishes of literary vanity. Instead, there's the suspense, the magic page-turner element. I was happy to suspend disbelief about ghosts and afterlife to enjoy the different perspective on narrative. It worked and it allowed for a neat ending. Having murders running concurrently was also really interesting. And the convoluted family life with all those tensions... Very Agatha Christie in resolution. Because we love to solve the murder before the detectives do. I loved this book.  Samela Harris- Journalist/Critic

‘A Taste of Evil’ is a book that grabs you from the start. It offers a very different perspective on finding the killer and has great characters that are easy to relate to. I love how all the family secrets unravel and the funeral is epic! Well written and easy to read, this book has a great mixture of suspense, comedy and murder! I really like Christina Carlisle's style of writing and hope there are more books to come.  5.0 out of 5 stars J.D.Stewart – Davies/Stewart Consulting

'A Taste of Evil' is a unique crime story with strong twists and turns to make this page-turning book memorable. The characters stay in the mind and make the reader yearn for a follow-up from this innovative writer. Author, Christina Carlisle, sets the story against the backdrop of the beautiful English Lake District and the beauty of the scenes, makes the murder scene even more gruesomely dramatic. The book is irresistible, sinister, clever and totally satisfying.  5.0 stars - Diane Beer, Market Media


Christina Carlisle has surpassed herself with this unique and intriguing tale that had me yearning for more from the get-go. It's exciting to see an author take a fresh approach in the genre. I would definitely recommend ‘A Taste of Evil’ as a thoroughly satisfying and exciting read. I do hope many more Christina Carlisle books will follow.  Celia Painter – Excel to Excel 5.0 out of 5 stars 


‘A Taste of Evil’ is brilliant! The book opened with the murdered woman telling you about her own death and I thought, where can we go from here? Well, the tension ratcheted up a notch every chapter thereafter until you're on the edge of your seat, heart racing, trying desperately to guess who dunnit. The idea of finding out what people really think of you from a fly-on-the-wall viewpoint was also intriguing. There were so many suspects in the intricate web of

secrets and human emotions, each with a bitter and a sweet side. This book had brilliant characters, great police procedural details and was an all around riveting read. Sandra O’Grady – Goodreads 5 stars