Richard Montanari is an American author I was first introduced to when one of his books was in the Quick Picks section in my local library. The cover of that particular book was what dragged me in, so when I was recently browsing for something new to read and remembered my previous good experience, and then spotted this book then I felt I was going to enjoy reading this one too.
Don't Look Now is the 1996 UK version of a novel released a year earlier in the US called Deviant Ways. Montanari is someone I would class as writing a good pyschological chiller - books that are based upon crime and policing, but have a story that chills you to the bone when you are reading it.
Don't Look Now is a story about voyeurism and desire. Married couple Andrea and Matt Heller are starting to experiment by dressing up and going to bars, where Andrea pretends to be single and pick up men. What they don't realise is Matt is not the only person who is playing at being a voyeur. They are also being watched by Pharoah and Saila, a couple who get their kicks through predation of single women and murder.
Jack Paris is a bit of a stereotypical mixed up divorced policeman who is hitting the bottle hard until he is given a case where 3 women have been killed and left in motel rooms. He finds himself leading an undercover operation to try and catch the serial killer before another female is murdered.
Events in this book are fast paced, characters are established well but in a way that leaves room for plenty of plot twists and turns as Paris gets closer to working out who the killer is. By including a female in the criminal pairing, this book has a very disturbing feel that led to me compulsively reading this book in one session over about 4 hours, as I could not believe what I was reading and how the plot kept deepening and going where I could not imagine it going. This writer is not afraid to touch on subjects that are a bit more sensitive, and the result is a truly gripping novel.
I have now read 3 books by this author, and he doesn't fall into a pattern like some other authors of sticking to the same characters and well known location to churn out a story. He seems to have a way of making each book appear unique, and with a perception of personalities that can be missing from some novels. The result is absolutely chilling to the soul.
I only had one fault with the writing. I noticed in one scene, Paris was at a crime scene finding clues which pointed out that the person who had just committed suicide was the killer. In the next scene, it is then brought in really clumsily the identity of the person in relation to Paris, and I felt like it was a bolt out of the blue rather than something I was being led into by the direction of the plot. It was one weak point in the novel.
If you like crime novels where you have to work at it rather than having clues to whodunnit dripped throughout the book in an obvious manner, then this is a book for you. It was the sort of novel that still had me head scratching the day after and having 'aaah' moments as the pieces of the puzzle finally clicked into place for me.