The cover of The Cerberus Affair, by Charlotte Valentine

The Cerberus Affair is a brand new fast-paced thriller by debut author, Charlotte Valentine.

A big thank you to Charlotte Valentine, who sent me a free copy of this book to read as part of The Wild Readers Book Club, hosted by Emily of The Emily Chapters.

The Cerberus Affair begins with the death of Adam. Adam is Junior Health Minister in the UK government and happily married with a grown-up daughter. Catherine has been best friends with Adam and his wife Lizzie since their university days, and is heartbroken about his death. But what she doesn’t expect is an email from her late friend, sent just before he died, asking her to investigate government corruption. Catherine used to work as an investigative journalist, and now that her son is going to university, she is thinking about going back to it. Putting her house in the country up for sale and moving back to London, Catherine starts her investigation. “He’d given her an investigation and a story, as he’d promised. It just wasn’t the story she’d hoped for or wanted to write.”

You can add The Cerberus Affair to your list on Goodreads, and buy a copy on Kindle or on paperback from Amazon. It’s also available on Kindle Unlimited.

My review

After the big shock at the start of the book, The Cerberus Affair then has a slow start. Catherine and Lizzie start to come to terms with Adam’s death. Catherine shares her fears about moving back to London with Lizzie and her friend Nina, before deciding to take the plunge. Once Catherine moves to a hotel in the city, the pace picks up and the action is non-stop. Catherine is a great character — I love strong female leads and she is no exception! I love the close relationship she has with her son Will, and her loyalty to her late friend Adam.

As part of her investigation, Catherine meets Clayton Mortimer, a professor who is researching a cure for Huntingdon’s Disease. The book then switches between Clayton and Catherine’s points of view. Clayton is an interesting character, with a daughter similar in age to Will. He and Catherine have an instant connection — they literally make eye contact across the room and fall for each other! Their relationship is intense and they become close very quickly. The romance was well-written but I just wanted to find out what would happen next in the story!

At the end of the book Clayton finds out some important information about his daughter — but he decides to keep it to himself and keep it a secret from her. Catherine agrees with and supports his decision. I couldn’t agree with this decision — she had a right to know the truth. (I’m trying not to spoil this but it’s pretty huge!)

The Cerberus Affair is fast-paced with lots of twists and turns. The characters are all well-developed and the villain of the story is scary and one that you can enjoy hating. Despite Catherine investigating government fraud, I liked that it doesn’t get too bogged down in details about this. I also liked that she is an older protagonist than you usually find in thrillers — Catherine is 53. (Most books I read have main characters in their 20s and 30s.) If you enjoy thrillers with romance thrown in, then you’ll love this book!

The blurb for The Cerberus Affair

Three Threats. Two Options. One Choice.
One woman’s determination to discover the truth.

A suspicious death.
Corporate corruption and conspiracy.
A ground-breaking genetics discovery, and a race against time to protect it.
And a passionate romance.

Catherine Preston, an ex-investigative journalist, vows to expose those responsible for the death of her friend, a UK junior health minister tipped for Cabinet promotion. His wife believes he was murdered, although officialdom insists he died of natural causes.

Catherine finds herself drawn into a sinister web of corporate corruption and murder, and into the controversial world of cutting-edge genetics research. With so much money at stake those involved in the conspiracy will silence anyone who crosses their path, including Catherine.

Can she discover who, or what, lies behind the mysterious Cerberus? And what will she risk to protect a game-changing scientific breakthrough and the life of the man she loves?

Charlotte Valentine, the author of The Cerberus AffairAbout the author, Charlotte Valentine

I was born and grew up in Blackpool, in the north of England, and spent a very happy childhood there. I was an only child, fortunate to have parents who always supported and encouraged me to believe that anything was possible, and never to be afraid of trying something new — perhaps the greatest gifts they could have given me.

I studied Law in London, then worked in Human Resources management until I decided to quit corporate life to study for my MA in Literature. That inspired my ambition to write my own novels one day.

After moving to Spain, and completing a Creative Writing course, I began writing short stories and working on my first novel which — after more title rethinks than I care to admit — became The Cerberus Affair, my first published novel.

Now a full-time writer, I split my time between Southern Spain (Màlaga) and the UK (London). I love the contrast between the natural beauty of Andalucía and the pulsating vibe of my favourite city. The people and cultures of both inspire my life, and my writing.

I’m the proud owner of a teenage son and also share my home in Spain with several rescued cats (current headcount 8) and a dog who thinks he’s a cat too.

When I’m not in solitary confinement writing, or socialising, you’ll find me reading my favourite authors, working out (less than I probably should), or online shopping (more than I probably should).

I’m currently working towards the publication of a collection of short stories – Late Night Shots – and writing my second novel – They.