gervase_fen: (ermine)
[personal profile] gervase_fen
David Mark’s serial killer investigation kicks off with his series hero DS Aector McAvoy connecting an enigmatic suspect, released from a charge of assault, with two murders.  That suspect has a teasing, flirtatious relationship with McAvoy’s direct superior, the troubled DCI Trish Pharoah.  Meanwhile there’s evidence that whoever the killer is, they are targeting McAvoy and his young family…

This was a new author to me, and the novel is number five in an ongoing sequence.  I’m in two minds about joining a series mid-flow like this – on the one hand, the completist in me feels obliged to read the preceding books.  On the other, as a wise man once said about picking up a long-running magazine series, every new book is somebody’s first, regardless of what has come before.

Mark has a lot of plot and backstory to get across, and there is one ninety degree turn in one of the character’s motives that took me by surprise.  The backdrop, Hull, is described in lots and lots of unlovely detail - “This is a place of weeds and broken glass. Holes have been torn in the steep tile roofs where chancers have punched through in an attempt to steal copper from the derelict homes. The white painted wooden porches that were intended to make this development look modern and Scandinavian have rotted in the face of the elements and turned the colour of dead and bloated skin.”

Did it work for me?  Some of the guignol horror is over the top for my tastes – even one of the hardened criminals in the novel has his doubts about the visceral ferocity of some of what he’s asked to do.  As an example of current crime fiction, two things struck me – there’s a box set / season arc story running throughout with a teaser scene for the next instalment in the final chapter, and one of the clues recovered from a phone is which wi-fi networks are stored on it (handy to place a suspect at a particular location.)
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