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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

Little Witness

Irish Crime Fiction

Series: DI Tessa Burns Book #1

Narrator: Melanie MacHugh

ISBN: 9781837900725

Publisher: Bookouture Audio

Publication Date: 02/12/2024

Format: Audio

My Rating: 4.5 Stars (ARC)


They came in the dark. They took her parents. And now she is the only one who can save them.


Hidden away in an isolated cabin on the edge of her farm, seven-year-old Aisling Connolly shivers as the cold night air whistles through her thin jacket. It’s been two days since the men came, since her mammy told her to run like she’d never run before, to not look back. She hasn’t seen her parents since. And she’s terrified.


But when Aisling is finally found by the police, she knows instinctively she can trust Detective Tessa Burns. A former child-witness herself, Tessa understands what Aisling has been through, and that Aisling must remember everything she can about that terrible, dark night if she’s to save her parents. Something Tessa was unable to do for her own parents all those years ago.


As the little girl slowly starts to open up, Tessa uncovers much more than she’d bargained for–another murder, clearly a horrific warning to Aisling not to speak. But time is running out, and any hope of finding Aisling’s parents alive is rapidly fading. And Tessa must do everything in her power to ensure the little girl isn’t next…


An utterly gripping Irish police procedural filled with unexpected twists. Perfect for fans of Peter May, Lisa Regan, and Patricia Gibney.





DI Tessa Burns #1


My Review


S.A. Dunphy, Pseudonym (Shane Dunphy) is back with a riveting new cop procedural Irish crime series starring DI Tessa Burns #1, LITTLE WITNESS. When parents go missing/abducted, only a frightened child can help Tessa and her team solve this case before it is too late!


Set in Dublin (County Monaghan), DI Tessa handpicks her new team, heading up a specialized police unit helping children after her bravery and work previously.


A little seven-year-old girl, Aisling (Ash) Connolly, is found hidden away in an isolated cabin in a shipping container on the edge of her farm after her mum told her to run and not look back. She is traumatized and frightened. It has been two days since the men came and took her parents away. She has not seen them since.


Detective Tessa Burns is the perfect one to help Aisling since she was also a former child witness. She understands and sympathizes with her, but at the same time, she knows the little girl must remember and recall everything about that horrible night to save her parents. Will she open up and speak before it is too late?


Tessa could not do this for her parents many years ago. Tessa is also ex-army and choose a diverse team. Maggie, a family liaison officer in a wheelchair suffering from Cerebral Palsy, and her dog, Pavlov. Also, Danny (the Hulk protector) is a troubled cop with a short fuse.


All of them spent their youth in foster care and care homes, leaving them relatable and helpful with their own traumas and psychological demons.


The girl's parents, Joe and Daisy Connolly, have been taken—trading in the illegal distribution of Poitin. Other families involved have also been taken and wind up dead. Daisy is the daughter of Jim Reville, an enforcer for the Shiggins Mafia out of Tallaght.


Poitín, anglicized as poteen or potcheen, is a traditional Irish distilled beverage. Former common names for Poitín were "Irish moonshine" and "mountain dew".


The team is patient and caring, taking special care and building trust to get her to open up, as she is vital to finding her parents and helping others. There are other murders and crimes, so they must protect Ash with a race against the clock in this gripping psychological Irish crime thriller.


Will Tess, Maggie, Danny, and Pavlov find the Faceless Men and the Unattested—bring them in and the people who controlled them to justice in time?


LITTLE WITNESS is well-written and gripping, with a great cast of diverse characters starring in this new series! Tessa is a highly relatable main character with her traumatic history. She also had hidden after her parents were murdered, and they were never caught, winding up in the foster system.


AUDIOBOOK: I read the book and listened to the audiobook narrated by Melanie MacHugh, bringing the story and the characters to life with her lovely Irish accent and perfect voice for all characters.


AUTHOR: The author's bio is highly impressive, and he is a pro (insider) with a background in child protective services, making the novel almost like a true crime written with expertise and sensitivity. I also enjoyed the author's notes, his journey, and his inspiration behind the novel and its dedication. There are notes on the illegal distilling trade in Ireland and further reading.


LITTLE WITNESS is well-plotted, atmospheric, intense, emotional, full of action and suspense— a fantastic Irish crime suspense psychological thriller, cop procedural, and an excellent start to a new series. I also enjoyed Ash's character, the team, and the dog. Sometimes, it takes a child's view to make your day!


BOOK #2: Stay tuned for Only the Children out Feb 12, 2024 (DI Tessa Burns #2), with a lead-in to three kids on board a vessel. (Extract Included). Also, in e-book and audiobook with the same narrator. It is coming up next for me! My first book by the author, and I look forward to reading more.


Thanks to Bookouture, Bookouture Audio, and NetGalley for gifted ALC and ARC review copies and the intro to this newfound talented author.


@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Pub Date: Feb 12, 2024





Only the Children DI Tessa Burns #2

S.A. Dunphy (Author), Melanie MacHugh (Narrator), Hachette UK - Bookouture (Publisher)

01 Feb 2024



The little girl stares up at Tessa, trembling so hard her whole body shakes. Her brothers stand clutching her hands, both pale with shock. ‘They told us not to speak,’ she finally whispers. But the terror in her tear-filled eyes tells Tessa all she needs to know…


When a cargo ship runs aground off the Irish coast, the police are horrified to find the captain dead at the helm, the crew missing, and three little red-haired children, terrified but unharmed, locked in the galley kitchen. As an expert detective running a child-centred taskforce, Detective Tessa Burns is called in to lead the case. BUY THE BOOK





About the Author



Childcare expert, author, teacher, journalist, broadcaster, musician, nerd, husband, Dad, Grandad.

Shane Dunphy (S. A. Dunphy) was born in Brighton in 1973, but grew up in Ireland, where he has spent most of his life. A child protection worker for 15 years, he is the number one bestselling author of 20 books. His first nine titles dealt with his time on the frontline of social care work, and include the number one bestseller Wednesday’s Child. His bestselling series of crime novels (written under the name S. A. Dunphy) feature the emotionally damaged criminologist David Dunnigan. Stories From the Margins, his series of True Crime books written for Audible, has been critically acclaimed as well as being an audio-bestseller. He has also ghost written two biographies. Writing as S. A. Dunphy his exciting new series of crime novels, set in Ireland, feature Criminal Behaviourist Jessie Boyle and detective Seamus Keneally.


Author website: Shandunphyauthor.org

Facebook: Shane Dunphy - S. A. Dunphy

Instagram: shanewritesbooks

Twitter: @dunphyshane1

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