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Every breath you take... I'll be watching you...
Cold Kill - Neil White
Member Name: jeffjen
Cold Kill - Neil White
Advantages: Good plot and an intriguing read overall.
Disadvantages: A couple of irritating parts and a little slow at first.
Detective Sergeant Laura McGanity is on the case and hoping to find the killer before he strikes again. Things aren't always easy for Laura as her boyfriend is local reporter Jack Garrett, which at times makes things a little awkward for her with her colleagues and superior, especially when reporters are sniffing around for stories. Indeed Laura is often gently reminded that being a detective who is about to marry a reporter isn't exactly ideal in the eyes of her superiors, no matter how much she is trusted.
Meanwhile Jack himself is in the process of digging for dirt whilst writing a piece on the notorious Whitcroft estate when he finds himself face-to-face with victim Jane Roberts' father, local gangland boss Don Roberts. Don won't assist the police and instead is seeking to find his daughter's murderer himself and deliver his own justice.
As Jack learns more about the influence Don has on the estate and also receives a taunting email from someone who could well be the killer, he soon learns that the two murdered women were linked in more ways than one and a dirty secret is about to be uncovered that some would prefer stay buried.
The killer is someone with a grudge to bear and he isn''t finished yet. In fact he has set his sights on his next victim and he's watching Laura's every move...
Published in 2011, Cold Kill is written by one of the rising stars of British crime fiction according to the blurb on the cover and if you are a fan of Peter James and/or Stuart MacBride then Neil White's novel may appeal to you.
I was given the book to read from a friend who informed me that the author has written other novels featuring Laura and Jack, however you do not need to read them first, as Cold Kill works well as a stand alone novel. I was slightly dubious, but can honestly say having read this book that I did not feel I should have read any of the previous books at all. It does indeed work perfectly well as a stand alone novel.
The story begins with the murder of Jane Roberts written from the killer's point of view as it happens. Therefore right away you are plunged into a sickening and tragic ending of a young woman's life and the author describes very well a man who has gotten a kick from stalking and killing his prey. The motive is left unclear at this time and all that comes across is the killer is a very strange, very dangerous and sadistic man who feels no remorse at all for his actions, instead only deriving a sick pleasure from it all.
The story then switches to short chapters featuring Jack and then Laura as we are introduced to their lives, their jobs and the struggle they have to actually spend any time together when there is a killer on the loose. Jack is often in bed by the time Laura gets home and when he wakes the next morning she has already left. Laura has a young son, but it is Jack who is left to take him to school and put him to bed.
I felt at this point that this was all too similar to other crime novels I had read before where a female detective feels she has to prove her worth amongst her male colleagues and so goes the extra mile and then some, while her family life suffers. I found it difficult to sympathise with her character as I felt she took advantage of Jack's easy-going nature. Indeed after reading how she goes for a drink with colleagues one evening instead of going home, letting Jack believe she was stuck at work, any sympathy I did have then disappeared. Her young son hardly got to see her and was waiting up to see her and despite previously reading how guilty she supposedly felt about this, the fact that she chose to go for a drink with her colleagues and lied to Jack, did little to endear her to me. Maybe I am being overly harsh but I did think her son should have came first on this occasion due to the amount of time she was needed at work.
It was also at this stage that despite the good start, I was starting to think I wasn't going to enjoy this story after all. It was slow to pick up again after the initial few gripping pages and I found it easy to put the book down as it wasn't holding my attention as much as I had hoped it would. With the focus on Jack's life as a reporter and Laura's inside the police HQ, I felt that the story was drifting away from its main focus too much for my liking.
Fortunately things pick up and the second third of the book sees the plot development gather pace which reignited my interest. There are a couple of twists and even though I worked out who was responsible and what was going to happen long before the end, there was still a little further twist to come and even though I had suspected this final twist might happen, I still enjoyed the way it was written.
The character of the killer I found intriguing. I also enjoyed Jack's character throughout and there are some good supporting characters here too. The only exception was Laura, who remained slightly irritating to me. Once the story began to pick up however, I didn't really focus on this anymore and the only other thing which irritated me was the part featuring a retired doctor who realises there is a dangerous intruder in his home probably lying in wait for him upstairs and instead of getting out of there and calling for help while he still can, he instead decides to go upstairs and investigate.... I was thinking 'get out while you can you silly old man', but no, up the stairs he goes...
The murder descriptions and some scenes of torture may not be for the faint hearted, but overall they made for an interesting read, with the organised crime on a rundown estate adding some realism to both the story and the characters.
Cold Kill is a decent crime thriller and one which I am happy to recommend to other thriller fans. I will be seeking out the author Neil White's other novels.
Summary: An intriguing tale of murder and revenge.