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The Dead Line Reviews

The Dead Line by Holly Watt

The Dead Line

Holly Watt

4.40 out of 5

4 reviews

Imprint: Raven Books
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publication date: 16 Apr 2020
ISBN: 9781526602947

A Bangladeshi camp. A British ambassador. A Harley Street doctor. Investigative journalist Casey Benedict is used to working on stories that will take her from the bottom to the top of society - stories with a huge human cost. And her latest case is no different. A frantic message is found hidden in clothes manufactured for the British high street. They take the girls... Casey and her team at the Post know they are on the brink of a major expose but identifying the factories in which the clothes have been made is one challenge, following the trail of those taken is another. Their attempts to find the girls will take Casey from her London newsroom across the world and into the very heart of families who will be destroyed if what she uncovers is ever revealed.

  • The TimesThriller Book of the Month
5 stars out of 5
Jeremy Duns
31 Mar 2020

"A superbly crafted sequel in what one hopes will become a long-running series."

The techniques and dilemmas of investigative journalism and the horrendous workings of the underground surrogacy industry are utterly convincing, but Watt is also an expert at ratcheting up the suspense, with a highlight an eerie chase through a wrecked cruise liner. A superbly crafted sequel in what one hopes will become a long-running series.


4 stars out of 5
Adam LeBor
15 May 2020

"Holly Watt’s cracking journalism thriller ranges from London to Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh"

Watt travelled to Bangladesh before writing the book and she deploys her research with skill. Dhaka, where “green tuk-tuks slipped through impossible gaps, forcing their way past with shouts and squawks”, the Rohingya camps, the rotting hulks of beached ships are vividly and evocatively drawn. The air of menace, subtle at first, is steadily ramped up as Casey and her colleagues are drawn deeper into the criminal underworld.

4 stars out of 5
Laura Wilson
24 Apr 2020

"hard-hitting, authentic and, sadly, very relevant indeed"

a message discovered in an item of high street clothing – “they take the girls” – leads investigative journalist Casey Benedict to Bangladesh on the trail of illegal “baby factories”. Teenagers kidnapped from refugee camps are forced to become surrogates for wealthy westerners, who will go to any lengths for a baby including condoning the commodification of some of the most vulnerable women on the planet...

Very well researched – the author is an investigative journalist – with plenty of action and lots of suspense, The Dead Line is hard-hitting, authentic and, sadly, very relevant indeed.

4 stars out of 5
Alison Flood
14 Apr 2020

"Watt, herself an investigative journalist, provides a daunting insight into what the job entails"

Investigative reporter Casey Benedict first appeared in Holly Watt’s debut To the Lions, which won her the Crime Writers’ Association’s Ian Fleming Steel Dagger. Now she’s back in The Dead Line, which sees her team looking into the discovery of a desperate message sewn into clothes manufactured for the British high street: “They take the babies for the women.” ... Casey is fierce, obsessive and brilliant. Watt, herself an investigative journalist, provides a daunting insight into what the job entails – “ordered to override, day after day, the human instinct to be polite, to not intrude, to avert one’s eyes so civilly” – as Casey blackmails and tricks her way to the truth.