A Room Full of Killers by Michael Wood
14th February 2019 – 4 stars.
I loved the first two books in the series. Outside Looking In was outstanding and my favourite read of 2018, making it a tough act to follow.
A Room Full of Killers is essentially a locked room murder mystery set in a detention centre for teenage killers. It has the added twist of having too many suspects as both inmates and staff come under suspicion when the latest inmate is murdered within 24 hours of his arrival.
The story moves along slowly as DCI Matidla Darke’s investigation is hampered by a lack of evidence, resistance from the governor of the site, and too many suspects. Each of the inmates is given a chapter to reveal their crimes and the reasons for them, but this doesn’t seem to add anything to the investigation and made the story seem longer and slower.
But then a second murder adds urgency to the investigation, which threatens to spiral out of control as Matilda pursues a separate line of enquiry, defying her boss. It all leads to an action-packed climax and resolution to the investigation.
While I enjoyed the story, I found the repeated references to Matilda’s problems, concerning a failed investigation and the death of her husband, rather distracting. While it is necessary backstory for anyone who hasn’t read the first two books in the series, it felt overdone and repetitive and didn’t do Matilda any favours as she doesn’t seem to be moving on.
That said, the story’s well-written and executed, with a neat twist at the end. I have the next book in the series on my Kindle and I’d recommend the books to anyone who enjoys police procedural crime fiction.
‘DCI Matilda Darke is the perfect heroine’ Elly Griffiths
The third book in Michael Wood’s darkly compelling crime series featuring DCI Matilda Darke. Perfect for fans of Peter James, Lee Child and Karin Slaughter.
Eight killers. One house. And the almost perfect murder…
Starling House is home to some of the nation’s deadliest teenagers, still too young for prison.
When the latest arrival is found brutally murdered, DCI Matilda Darke and her team investigate, and discover a prison manager falling apart and a sabotaged security system. Neither the staff nor the inmates can be trusted.
The only person Matilda believes is innocent is facing prison for the rest of his life. With time running out, she must solve the unsolvable to save a young man from his fate, and find a murderer in a house full of killers…