The First Cut by Val Penny | Book Review

The First Cut by Val Penny | Book Review

Get ready for an edge of your seat ride as Val Penny takes us to Edinburgh, Scotland and a killer who just may be related to the cop on the case. This is one book that you will want to finish in one reading because you can't wait to find out what happens.

The First Cut by Val Penny | Book Review
The First Cut by Val Penny
Series: Jane Renwick Thriller #1
Genres: Mystery, Scottish

It’s hard to escape a brutal past…

A vicious serial killer is on the loose. Victims include an academic and notable members of Edinburgh’s high society.

When Detective Sergeant Jane Renwick learns through DNA that a member of her family could be the killer, she is banished to the sidelines of the case and forced to look on impotently as the hunt for the killer ramps up.

Frustrated, she decides to conduct her own investigations.

Has someone from her estranged birth family returned to haunt her? And where will the killer strike next?

It’s a race against time…

This fast-paced, gripping police procedural is set in Edinburgh and Glasgow, Scotland. It is the first in the new series of Scottish thrillers by bestselling crime writer, Val Penny.

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I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links, meaning I’ll receive a small commission should you purchase using those links. All opinions expressed are my own. I receive no compensation for reviews.


We begin this book with three children being removed from their home. we have Donny, Craig, and finally Jane. Fast forward and we find young Jane now DS Jane Renwick who is part of a Murder Investigation Team. They are the same as a homicide squad here in the US.

When dna at a crime scene says that it could be one of Jane’s brothers or even a baby that she knew of but never met she is removed from the case. That isn’t going to stop her though from digging into her family and learning all she can about them. Such as did she have more siblings? With her wife by her side she is determined to not only unravel the mystery of her family but also figure out who the killer is.

This book blew me away! I mean, can you imagine being taken away from your family, becoming a cop and then finding out hat one of your siblings (that you no longer really even know) is a serial killer? One of the most interesting part of the entire book is that some parts of it is actually told by the killer himself. We get a look into his mind which is rare in novels. There are so many twists and turns in this story that I was left hanging onto the edge of my seat the entire time. I can’t wait for the next book.

About Val Penny

Val Penny’s other crime novels, Hunter’s Chase Hunter’s Revenge, Hunter’s Force Hunter’s Blood and Hunter’s Secret form the bestselling series The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries. They are set in Edinburgh, Scotland, published by darkstroke Her first non-fiction book Let’s Get Published is also available now and she has most recently contributed her short story, Cats and Dogs to a charity anthology, Dark Scotland.

Val is an American author living in SW Scotland with her husband and their cat.

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