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A dying woman is suffocated in her hospital bed.  Her last visitor, Madeleine Reed, is accused of the crime.  There are no witnesses.  Madeleine cannot recall committing the murder and has no motive.  Claiming to be pursued by the Furies, punitive figures from Greek mythology, she is found guilty of manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility.  After her  release from a secure hospital she is drawn back to the Cornish coastal village where she lived before the murder and where her mother had died years before in mysterious circumstances.  Slowly, her memories begin  to return.  She knows that she must finally confront the hideous Furies who alone can bring the truth to light.  But can she bear to uncover the horrific,distant memories she has repressed for so long?

The following review is from a reviewer for the blog 'Promoting Crime Fiction.' 

‘Shadows of Fury’ by Keith Jacobsen

Published by The Book Guild,
28 March 2022.
ISBN: 978-1-914471-36-0 (PB)

The slow revelation of secrets from the past is a theme which frequently appears in mystery fiction – but it’s not often that the biggest of those secrets is hidden from every character, even from the protagonist him- or herself.  

Madeleine Reed has recently been released from the secure hospital, where she has been confined ever since she was found guilty of the manslaughter of a woman she hardly knew, in a nursing home in Portsmouth. She had been the last visitor before the woman was found dead, despite having no memory whatsoever either of killing her or of the events leading to the incident. Madeleine was charged with murder, but the charge was reduced to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

 Now she has returned to the place it all began: a secluded village on the Cornish coast, where her mother is buried and she herself spent several years caring for Michael, an artist whom she met for the first time at her mother’s funeral. She is anxious to recover her memories, discover if she was indeed guilty of the crime which kept her locked away for several years, and learn why she feels as if she is being pursued by the Furies, ancient mythical figures who seem determined to drag her down into hell.

Madeleine’s story begins slowly, and inevitably with a great many unanswered questions. But her quest for answers soon drew me in until I was as keen to learn the truth as she was. One by one those answers come as little pieces of Madeleine’s memory return. She is helped by Brenda, who runs a small art gallery in the village, Megan, who was Michael’s housekeeper until his death, and later by the mysterious Alan, a tramp who knows more than he should. The unforgiving terrain around the village, where her mother and Michael’s adopted nephew both fell to their deaths, also has a part to play, as does the slightly eerie house she shared with Michael for his last few years.

It seems almost every character in the book, not to mention that implacable landscape, is harbouring secrets, all of which become pieces in the jigsaw Madeleine has to assemble. It comes together as a cohesive picture at the end, but not until preconceptions have been upended and lives changed, and one final, terrible secret from the past is finally unearthed.

Will the Furies loose their hold on Madeleine? Is she indeed a murderer? Or is what really happened that day in Portsmouth yet one more secret to be exposed? You’ll have to read the book to find out – and I strongly recommend that you do exactly that.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick

From reader reviews of the kindle edition:

'This was a fun mystery & thriller story. Very exciting and interesting.'

'Quick paced and full of twists at every corner..a very enjoyable read.'

'I loved this book!  It was had intrigue, suspense and lots of heart-pounding moments.'

'Shadows of Fury' was published on 28th March 2022 (available from or  It is the final instalment in the 'Furies Trilogy', of which the two previous volumes are 'Place of a Skull' (Thames River Press, 2013) and 'Sisters of Fury' (Book Guild 2015).  Details of these and my other novels are below.  


A Liverpool parish priest receives an anonymous letter, denouncing an unnamed priest for abuse and betrayal of the secrets of the confessional. As he struggles to solve a mystery protected by the obsessively secretive Church hierarchy, he ventures into an unknown inner city world of dispossession, cruelty and repression. To his horror he realises that the answer may lie in a terrible secret at the heart of his own family history. A study of evil hidden behind an aura of holiness, a baffling crime puzzle, and a heart-breaking story of thwarted love.

‘...a story that lurks in the dark places behind the headlines about abuse in the Roman Catholic Church... a voyage through a world where desire masquerades as consolation and betrayal as absolution, its intricate, skilfully-woven web of deception keeps the reader guessing all the way to the last page.’ Sam Llewellyn, acclaimed thriller writer (

Available from or from

PLACE OF A SKULL (Published 1 June 2013 - nominated for 2014 CWA Goldsboro Gold Dagger Award)

'Place of a Skull'  is available from from 

A hard-hitting story set during the Troubles in Northern Ireland and its aftermath of bitterness and betrayal, it chronicles the tragedy of a family torn apart by conflict and a killer's search for redemption. 


'Seamus stood clutching a bunch of spring flowers at the place where the winds met and wheeled around him, from Belfast Lough before him and the Irish Sea beyond, from Black Hill behind him, from the Lagan Valley to his right.  He turned down the grassy path to the part of Milltown Cemetery sacred to Republicans, where their heroes were buried beneath florid Gaelic inscriptions.  He came to the most hallowed plot of all, reserved for those killed in action.  It was where he had once dreamed that he and Brendan would be laid to rest side by side.
"I did it for you, Da', as you made me promise.  I did it for you."  He was almost shouting.  "So you would find peace.  So why can't I find peace?  Why is he still haunting me?  What else do I have to do?"'

   'He thought he recognised some of the men who shuffled along the pavements.  They had been prematurely aged by the times on those streets when snipers lurked behind corners and bullets raked the walls, when running feet, harsh shouts and the sounds of crunching wood from the back alleyways told of smashed doors and of men and women, old and young, pressed against the walls, searched and frogmarched way.'


'He linked arms with his neighbours.  They sang that they would not be moved, until the screams drowned out the song.  He turned to see armoured vehicles disgorging men with blackened faces, carrying metal tubes that spat fire and death.  The crowds surged, carrying him up towards Creggan Estate.  As soon as he could break free he sheltered behind a wall.  They streamed past, men, women, boys and girls.  All were crying.  He fought his way back against the weeping, screaming torrent until he could see the place where he had stood.  Sobbing groups huddled aorund bodies which had been carried into the shelter of the block of flats oposite...Unable to bear it, he knelt in the middle of the street and howled.'         


'He had killed, always knowing and seeing his enemy.  But now there was an enemy he could not see.  He could kill flesh and blood but not shadows. '  

From reader reviews:

'The first half is a good book about 'the Troubles'. Then about half way through it really starts to dig into the family reactions and how the times warped them...This is a book you will probably want to read twice...[it] will make you look at your own family and how you are interacting with them.  Recommended for everyone who is part of a family.'

'Intense.  Really intense...Even though it only weighs in at 237 pages the story expands well beyond that....The ending was fitting  -  like a good Greek tragedy or Romeo and Juliet...Betrayals abound around every corner and the narrative navigates through those so fluidly you can't put the thing down.'
'If you're looking for a real life account of what it's like in Ireland during the uprising [sic] then this is definitely a must-read.'

'A wonderful perspective on how it could be for families to have to go through such dreadful times.'

'The story is fascinating...not a happy story but it is gripping, well written and not at all predictable.  Characters are well-developed and interesting...'

'The recent Irish history is added bonus for those interested in that kind of thing but it is the family tragedy which is the heart of the book.  Almost Shakespearean in that sense.'

'First and foremost a tense and gripping psychological thriller about a family...high Greek tragedy.  A  must-read for all who enjoy strong psychological thrillers that break new ground.'

SISTERS OF FURY   (November 2015)

In late 1960s Oxford, Jack Roberts, a shy northerner without dreams or ambitions, is a fish out of water.  Then he meets the charismatic, exotic Hasan and suddenly a new world opens up to him.  Jack hero-worships his new friend, even if he catches glimpses of something altogether darker under his dazzling persona.  At the end of university, Hasan just as suddenly disappear from Jack's life.  Jack has a breakdown and lives as a recluse.  A decade later Jack learns that Hasan has published a book and is going on tour to promote it.  Jack follows him on the tour but keeps his distance.  Then he realises someone else is also secretly following Hasan, the fragile, elusive figure of a young woman.  Jack and the woman meet but an aura of mystery continues to surround her, until Jack begins to suspect that both he and Hasan may be in danger.

'Part Hitchcockian thriller, part melancholy Almodovarian melodrama, this beautifully written book will tease and entice to the very last page.'  (cover blurb). 

'Carefully plotted and peopled with believable, fully rounded characters Jacobsen has pulled off another moral tale dressed up in a readable mystery story.'  (Derek Pearce, bibliophile and reviewer for LIbrarything).   

Available from  and

THE EYE OF GOD  (6 March 2016)

'The Eye of God' is the sequel to 'Out of the Depths' (New Generation Publishing, 2012).

Former Catholic priest Michael Jones and the irreverent Father O'Malley return to tackle another baffling clerical mystery set in Liverpool. 

Battling loneliness and alcohol addiction, Michael meets Martha, a refugee from the Troubles in Northern Ireland.  She tells Michael of the unexplained disappearance of her son, a former altar boy at his church, fourteen years ago.  Suspecting the involvement of a visiting priest who has also vanished without trace, Michael and Father O'Malley decide to investigate.  The trail leads them to a deserted village, a deconsecrated church and a walled-in estate haunted by the ghosts of a terrible past.  Searching for the place where the Eye of God is blind, they soon find themselves in mortal danger.

Available from  or

 EVIL RIVER  (February 2020)


Alan Harris, an old school Oxford don comfortable in his enclosed academic world, leads an outwardly contented life, until the body of one of his students, Simon, is discovered in the river, his empty punt moored nearby.  The verdict is suicide.  But Simon seemed happy and confident.  And why do his family show no emotion at the loss of their son?  Meeting Simon's closest friend, Alban, leads only to more questions and Alan starts to suspect there is much more to the tragedy than meets the eye...

Available from and     

Following is a review from a reviewer for the blog 'Promoting Crime Fiction.'
A book by an unfamiliar author is always something of a leap of faith – but one of the great pleasures of reviewing fiction is the occasional unexpected gem that falls into one's lap.
The premise of Evil River was certainly intriguing: an Oxford academic as accidental sleuth, looking into the apparent suicide of one of his students. And sure enough, the more I read, the more promising the novel itself became, until before long I was completely engrossed.
Creative writing manuals have a great deal to say about 'voice': the author's unique style and way with words. Keith Jacobsen has chosen first-person narration as a story-telling medium and puts a different spin on the concept: he captures the 'voice' of Alan Harris, the academic, to perfection. His measured, diffident, slightly formal tone comes across loud and clear as he recounts the events surrounding the tragic death of Simon Harvey, a student in whom, we discover, he was beginning to see echoes of his own emotionally stilted youth.
Alan's own reserved personality comes to life just as vividly as those of the people involved in Simon's sad story. After the student's body is discovered in the river, close to a punt in which are two empty bottles, one which contained whisky, the other tranquillizers, he finds himself asking questions about the young man's life, and seeking out his friends – one in particular – and members of his family. What he finds is profoundly disturbing and leads the unsuspecting don down paths he never expected to venture on, into mystery and danger, and friendships he had never thought to find.
The action moves between Oxford, suburban Liverpool and central London, and all three are portrayed with a sure hand. Jacobsen clearly knows Oxford very well indeed and recreates the unique 'bubble' atmosphere of academia in the early 1970s with a sure hand. He reminds the reader that as well as the beautiful ancient stone dreaming spires and picturesque quads and meadows, the city has its less salubrious side; the river bend in which Simon's body gets caught is an unlovely and malodorous tangle of weeds.
Evil River is clearly the work of a skilful and experienced writer. A story which begins on a sad but quiet note rapidly escalates into something darker, and eventually picks up and runs with the theme of families and the harm they can inflict on each other. Read it, and perhaps, like me, you'll feel you've had an unexpected treat.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick

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