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A few weeks ago I read my first Detective Novel by Sally Kelly and really enjoyed it. It was called 'Killing of the Fatted Calf' which is the second novel in the Superintendent Summers series. So I thought I should try another one as soon as possible. Luckily my library is well stocked with this author's work so I was able to take my pick of her books and re-acquaint myself with her work.
===About the Author===
Susan Kelly is a very successful and popular British author. She is 54 years old and was born in the Chilterns. Thus far she has written a total of 16 novels of which the most successful have been the Superintendent Summers series. There have been 7 of these and the one I am reviewing is the latest first published in 2007.
===Synopsis of the Book===
Bad things are happening in the sleepy Berkshire town of Newberry. A young girl Lindsey Brownlow dies following a night out at the Kismet Klub. The death is explained by a reaction to an Ecstasy pill. However when a few months later another young lady also dies in a similar way the Police have more information and are able to identity this time a new drug called Entry. Superintendent Summers and his CID team start to investigate both deaths.
The main link seems to be the Kismet Klub and upon further investigation it is discovered the first death was also this new and hardly know about drug Entry. By chance one of his officers girlfriend Nadia is holding her Hen night at the Club a few nights later. So Summers decides to organise an under cover operation to find the supplier of these deadly pills, both inside and outside the Club.
However their night goes disastrously wrong when another incident brings the whole affair right onto the Superintendents line of view. He must now with the support of his team dig deep and find out what if anything binds these mysterious death and women together before anything else can happen. As the Press are already ridiculing the local Police force for their lack of action and no arrest in sight to record and help make the public feel safe in their beds again.
===My thoughts on the book===
I really enjoyed reading this book and found it always interesting and fascinating to see what happen next. The novel had so many unexpected twists and turns I was left very impressed by this talented writer. I did not think it was quite as good as the previous one 'Killing the Fatted Calf' but still an excellent read.
It was always going to be difficult going back to a writer you really enjoyed and this was proved. But give this book its credit is was a very enjoyable read. It certainly made it slightly easier with the characters as I knew most of them and so I knew more about their personalities and their relationships, which helped draw me closer to them.
I had several novels to choose from in the Superintendent Summers series and picked the latest merely on the excellent, good size summary to the story. I suppose if I was sensible I would have picked the next one in the series but there you go! The story sounded interesting and I liked the concept of this new drug that no one knew anything about that now needed investigating as it was becoming a deadly substance.
It really like novels that have a prologue and an epilogue. I always think a good book should have these as they form a good introduction and closing off to any book. I think an epilogue is really important as you get to find out what happened to all your favourite characters a few weeks or months down the line and the progress they are making.
In this novel although you had a prologue it was ridiculously short just two pages. On the positive side though it was directly related to the story, which in my experiences in quite rare and provided an excellent introduction into the murders. Which at this stage seemed to be a young woman who had an extreme reaction to a drug.
I found this story very unusual. It never went in the direction I thought and I suppose like any investigation it went in a very unexpected way. It was full of surprising revelations and unusual occurrences that helped develop the story and ultimately make it a more enjoyable read. There was always mystery regarding the crimes and the author built this up throughout the novel with several unusual suspects.
I found this novel had a good feel and pace to it. With a prolonged and sustained build up towards an exciting conclusion, that successfully pulled together all the different strands of the investigation. Which was unexpected but well thought out by the writer and it certainly made me think and consider things differently.
But the conclusion was also the one disappointment about the book for me. As I struggled to comprehend the reasoning behind the crimes. Something there was missing for me it all didn't quite make sense. Yes the author explained it well but I thought there would be more tell tell signs of a change of character to perform these deeds.
To be honest I was surprised by the deaths that littered the novel. I expected this new drug Entry to be responsible for all the fatalities but the author correctly in the context of the story used more imagination that made the story more real and logical and ultimately more interesting.
I think Superintendent Summers is a useful lead character as he pulls together the investigation in a understandable and logical way. This being the second novel featuring him that I have read so I am getting to know a lot more about him and his personality. I like the way his partner is brought in to the story not only in her home life but also getting involved in the story of the deaths too, that I thought was a good and different touch.
The only thing I worry about him is I'm not convinced in his management style. He seems unusual for a man in his position, he is quite soft and sensitive to others around him thoughts and opinions. I just wonder how he managed to rise so high in the force as he seems to lack a ruthless streak.
Of the support characters, I did like his new assistant DCI Freeman. He is a new fresh character that certainly has a history which we learnt little about in this story, but I'm sure revelations will be exposed in future novels. I liked the fact we never really knew him and his character added an exciting and unknown quantity to the investigation.
The other support characters are all well written for with good deep personalities. I get the impression that because they are so good and interesting the story would not have be badly effected if Summers was not actually involved, if he was on holiday say the story would still be a great read.
The book was full of everything you could hope for in a good Detective story. It had all the key elements such as excitement, intrigue, mystery and differing motives for the crimes as well as a well thought out story. In this one I was never sure of the solution until the very end when the investigating officer spelt it out for the reader.
I really enjoyed the author's writing style. The book was always well written with good descriptions of both characters and the scenes they were involved in. I particularly liked the conversations that took place in this story. As usually I find these dull and basic but I thought this writer put a lot of thought and effort into these and it really improved the feel and the realism of the story.
The novels length was spot on. As it allowed a great story to be played out, while providing the opportunity for other suspects and strands to emerge into the investigation. This brought up alternative possibilities for murderers and added to the intrigue. It was also supported by clear signposting by the author that took the book effortlessly along.
I really enjoyed this quality Detective story. I recommend it to all those who enjoy an absorbing book with fascinating storyline and fabulous characters. I certainly will be reading another book by this talented author over the next few weeks as they are well written and full of possibilities and thought.
Publisher: Allison & Busby
About the author: www.susankellywriter.com
Thank you for reading my review.
This review is published under my user name on both Ciao and Dooyoo
@CPTDANIELS August 2009.