DNF Review: Murder on the Rocks by Clara Nipper

“I’m fighting crime with my twat.”

29387763

Bold Stroke Books | 2016

Opening Hook: Bullets and blood and zero follow-up

Main Character: SUCH A DICKHOLE

Plot Twisty-ness: I mean, the butt plug was unexpected so…


Soooooo, honestly what the fuck is this? It’s been a while since I read something this cringe-worthy.

Part of my bookish New Years resolutions is to tackle my backlog of Netgalley arcs that I’ve been putting off reading. This is one of those books. And it’s going to be my first DNF @ 48%.

First of all, let’s talk about how this is presented to the reader – as a detective crime fiction novel. But, as far as I read, this book fits that category in only the most liberal sense of the genre.

The main character, Jill Roberts, is a detective. Check.

She visits a couple of crime scenes. Check.

And that’s about it. There is no investigation work done for the reader to take part in, the policework aspect of the novel is more backdrop than actual story. And everything else in between was inconsequential, personal scenes that are rough, obscene, ridiculous, offensive (depending on your sensibilities) or just plain weird. The writing was so choppy and underdeveloped that I was unsure of how moments or scenes were transitioning or progressing, and multiple times I had to go back and re-read paragraphs to find out what information I’d missed that explained getting from point A to point B.

what is happening steve carell GIF by Saturday Night Live

Detective Roberts describes herself as a top-notch, gifted detective and no other detective can touch her skills. But her boss seems to hate her – actually most people seem to hate her. And there are no real moments during what I read that would demonstrate that she’s better at her job than any other detective could be if they hadn’t been written like misogynistic, bumbling douche bags.

The book opens with a dead body and bullet wounds that haven’t bled, but the body is covered in blood. The scene ends with some CSI: Miami level dialogue hook before the credits roll where Roberts asks, “then whose blood is this?” And I’m thinking, Oooo this could be interesting.

Except…this case is literally never picked up again??? Roberts instead heads to a second crime scene. This crime is, I guess, supposed to be the moment where we learn Jill is a supercop because she’s the only one who suspects murder. But, seriously? Is the entire police force brain dead?

It goes something like this:

“This woman has clearly been hit by a car and dragged.”

“What are you crazy?! This is an accidental death. Case closed.”

“This woman was murdered!”

“You’re a hell of a detective, Roberts. We’d never figure things out without you.”

I have to assume that if a woman had been clearly hit by a car and dragged down the road, more than one police officer would have picked up on that.

Roberts as the main character was instantly unlikable on the first page and by the time I stopped reading things had only gotten worse. She is, to put it in the most concise terms, a giant fucking asshole. I think the intention was to write a witty, tough female lead, but what you get is a rude, insensitive dick who is dismissive of everyone around her and doesn’t seem to be able to think of anyone but herself. It’s like the author took every unlikable male cop stereotype and just change the gender. And there was no soft backstory that would have allowed the reader to feel even a smidgen of connection to her.

The dialogue, on the plus side, was fast and snappy, but the content of the dialogue was brash, borderline racist in spots, occasionally misogynistic and not funny even though it seemed to desperately want to be. Roberts also had a tagline that was overused, “fuck god in the eyeball.” And listen, I’m not religious and have been known to piss off my religious family members, but that is so stupid I’m offended just on the grounds of lameness.

I think what this book really wanted to be, and is better categorized as, is an F/F romance between Jill and her ex-girlfriend, Sophie. Which is totally fine with me, if that is what I had been expecting to read. But I thought I was getting crime fiction, and instead I got kinky lesbian sex. And the minute the butt plugs and strap-ons came out, in explicit detail, I had to stop reading.

jennifer garner love GIF

So, if you’re into F/F erotica, maybe this would be something for you. Erotica is not my thing, in any form, and it’s definitely not my thing when it’s wrapped itself up in crime fiction sheep’s clothing.

But I would warn that Jill and Sophie’s relationship is 100% toxic and not in any way endearing or charming. I think perhaps the author was going for passionate, but all I read was that Jill is a possessive bitch with mental health issues who needs therapy to work on herself, and Sophie is her victim who can’t get out of the abusive cycle even when she’s moved on to a new relationship.

Bottom line, for me, this was awful and I can’t finish it or recommend it to anyone in good conscience.

🔪🔪🔪


Murder is a seductive story that keeps Detective Jill Rogers hypnotized and soothes her road-hungry feet. Money and murder—the world’s most fascinating subjects. Jill quit romance when she left Sophie Walsh, the love of her life, starved and hurting. Love is for sunny, squishy people, and Jill is dark. 

A few things Jill knows for sure: the more violent the crime, the closer the relationship is between victim and murderer. Murder investigation is a two-piece puzzle. One piece is the crime scene and it forms half the picture; the other is the witnesses and suspects. Ideally, the two halves come together and form a complete whole and the case is solved. If they don’t, either Jill made a mistake or someone is lying. And she doesn’t make mistakes.


I was given this book by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

9 thoughts on “DNF Review: Murder on the Rocks by Clara Nipper

  1. Omg wtf… What is wrong with the author? I hate it when they use words for effect instead of a story… And you are bang on (pun unintended) this was more like a male protagonist wearing female title…
    Woman was dragged by car scene was hilarious – where is the forensics in that?
    Beautiful, beautiful post loved your clarity…
    You should have stopped reading at 10%…but I can understand why you gave it a chance, sometimes books get better later.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right? I have no idea what she was thinking – to me you write to get the story out. I don’t know why this was the story that needed to get out LOL. I always feel bad about DNFing an arc, but better someone who likes it give it a full review.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. ” I mean, the butt plug was unexpected so…”
    I literally choked on my juice. This review is everything I never knew i needed. wow. I’m sorry that you had to endure this shit show but thank you for keeping me from requesting it! lol.

    Liked by 1 person

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