==Synopsis of the book:==
In North London there is a new killer at large. The body of a young Gothic girl is found badly cut up on Hampstead Heath. The Nurse who made the horrific discovery had hardly had time to get over a man flashing her when the body was found. Is this a bizarre coincidence or is this flasher also the killer? Detective Inspector Jack Delaney and his team must find out before the murderer strikes again and the public become alarmed.
However Jack is still trying to come to terms with the death of his wife and unborn child. As four years ago she was senselessly killed when a petrol station was robbed. In that time Jack has found most of his comfort in the bottle and his mind is still very disturbed by his loss. But now fresh hope that he could find those responsible for it when he receives information that Kevin Norrell wants to speak to him about this. Norrell in currently in residence at Bayfield Prison, but before he can be interviewed he is savagely beaten by four other inmates. Leaving him fighting for his life and Jack once more frustrated.
Jack needs to try and focus and find out who the dead woman was on the Common and why she was killed with such violence. While his heart still needs to avenge his wife's murder. Can he do both before there is further bloodshed or he loses what sense he has left?
==My thoughts on this novel:==
I found this Detective story really grew on me the further I read into it. It was a really gritty thriller and one I found that seemed very realistic and honest. And while initially I struggled with it, I think that was because I had not seen or read anything by this author before. Because by the end I was really enjoying the book and all the action within the well thought out and interesting story.
This author Mark Pearson as well as being a successful author has been a script writer for successful television programs such as The Bill and Holby City. In total this English writer has written six books, with four of these being in the DI Delaney series. The book I am reviewing here is the second of these and was first published in 2009.
My reason for purchasing this novel was simple I wanted a crime story that was involving a new lead character, basically something different. What initially caught my attention was the picture on the cover of the book, it was of a bed with blood splattered all around and on it. And even though I don't particularly like graphic murder stories, it certainly grabbed my attention. I also liked the title of it but initially wondered if it would be too disgusting in terms of butchered or mutilated murders.
So I looked at the summary of the story on the back cover. This despite being a bit disjointed sounded interesting. It was short but snappy advising there is a new serial killer on the loose and DI Delaney and his forensic pathologist and on off girlfriend Dr Kate Walker must investigate. I liked the idea of this troubled relationship as I can imagine it is very hard to work along side a partner or former partner. Regardless I was persuaded at just one pound from the Charity Shop it was worth a gamble so I bought it.
So I started reading the book but was initially confused as before the prologue was three quarters of a page talking about a women having been drugged. It gave no clues of her identity but it certainly appeared she was in trouble. The beauty of this start I only came to appreciate later when it became part of the story, but it was the kind of start that immediately grabbed me as it was full of mystery and I wanted to know why it was and what had happened. The only thing that confused me was it was not titled at the start and I wondered if it was a pre prologue?
The prologue was amazing, not because it was excellent in my reviewed but because of its size. I have never read a novel with such a long one, this one was 26 pages!! It started to set the scene and involved all the main characters at one stage or another. I found it a little confusing as I tried to take in all these new names and the scenes they were involved in. It seemed quite full on with only short paragraphs flitting from character to character. As a result I did not really get to grips with their personalities or get any depth about what was happening or had happened to them.
With the second point being critical as the story when it began in earnest kept going back four years and referring to what had preciously happened. For me as a new reader to this series I found this very confusing and I wished for once I had read the first in the series as I was sure I was missing something. I don't think at this point it was helped with the short paragraphs as I needed more background and to develop an understanding of the main characters and what had happened to them. I certainly found it initially hard to read and my confusion certainly meant I did not enjoy it much.
Luckily, it started to change and while the author would still go back to scenes from four years before, I started to piece together what was happening and the implications of it. There just appeared to be lots happening, very quickly and I needed more depth. Maybe if there had been longer chapters with more depth I could have picked things up and got more into the story and the characters. But the longer I read the more used to it I got and the more interested I got in the various themes to it.
I think to be honest I would have preferred two different stories. One of the serial killer investigation led by DI Delaney and a second the Detective trying to find out who killed his wife and unborn Child. By doing this the author could have increased the depth and background detail of each story and it might have made it more understandable. That said because of these two stories the action came thick and fast and it made for an very fast paced and exciting read.
The longer and further the story developed the greater my understanding and enjoyment of it. I really liked the concept of a serial killer taunting Jack and him struggling to deal with both this and the need to find out who murdered his wife. There seemed to be a real honesty in the story and it all seemed totally believable because the characters where all ones you could understand. I had no idea what would happen next in the story and this suspense was excellent throughout it. It was helped by writing some of the story from the killers viewpoint but it never told you who they were only sharing their opinions.
The conclusion to the story was very exciting and amazingly still full of suspense. It was a really good ending to what had become a fascinating story and one I wanted the answers to. However there was so much left open and some might have left the story as it was and let the reader decide what happened next. But I'm glad the author didn't do this as I needed these answers and by doing this I felt the story was rounded off properly.
The lead character unsurprisingly is Jack Delaney and while his temperament is a throw back to the 1970's Police I found him a excellent personality. He was so human, and I found I could sympathise with his desire to find the truth about his wife's death. You could see why his personality had changed and been influenced by this tragic event that haunted him day and night. So while he sometimes used undue force and broke the rules you could definitely see why he was doing it. For me he seemed like a real character and his actions I could understand if not always agree with.
Jack was supported by a number of also very well described and interesting characters. I enjoyed the way they interacted with him with varying levels of success. I particularly enjoyed his very turbulent relationship with Kate Walker who had enough problems of her own to deal with. I felt the author was very good at dividing the story between the Police Investigation and the members of the investigations private lives, which where exciting and always with important developments. These problems seemed real and easy to understand.
The only thing that slightly puzzled me and I found unnecessary was when for example a body was discovered the author spent a page or two talking about the character that found it. It made you think these characters would have more of a role but they didn't and added nothing to the story. As even their interviews where not shown. It just seemed weird and looking back at the story as a whole it was not needed at all.
I thought the story's length was about right to tell what became a very interesting and well thought out story. The only thing I found annoying was the absence of chapters to break the story up. What the author did was just have three main chapters dealing with each day of the investigation. While this helped you see how quick everything was happening it also for me made it quite hard to read. This is because I like the separation chapters provide and they make it easier to show a change in scene and the character you are following.
For me this was a very enjoyable crime thriller and one I would certainly recommend. And while initially I did struggle as a felt as a new reader by the story going back in time I had missed something important, I soon caught up however. It was an action packed story and one that always had me involved and wanting to know the identity of the serial killer. I certainly will be looking to read another of these stories as they are on this form down to earth stories that seem realistic.
Price: 5.59 new at Amazon
Year first Published: 2009
Thanks for reading my review.
This review is published under my user name on both Ciao and Dooyoo.
© CPTDANIELS June 2011.