16th July 2020. 3 stars.
This is the fifth book in the series, but the first I’ve read by the author. I know it’s usually better to start at the beginning to get to know the characters fully, but I saw this book in the library, read the blurb and thought I would give it a try.
This police procedural novel, which can be read as a standalone, is driven by the relentless and restless DI Helen Grace, who has one hell of a dark history and backstory. To say she’s unconventional would be an understatement. She’s plunged into a murder where she knows the victim and shares a past with him. Like all mavericks, she decides to conceal this from her superiors. When another victim is found, again with links to DI Grace, her life and dark secrets begin to unravel.
With short chapters, baited with hooks at the end, the story has pace and urgency. The clever plotting provides twists, turns and surprises along the way as DI Grace sinks deeper into duplicity and despair. There’s plenty of conflict, the stakes are about as high as you can get, and the story has the feel of a thriller.
Unfortunately, Helen Grace’s behaviour felt unrealistic and far-fetched to me. Both she and the story lacked soul, maybe because of the intensity and dark nature of the subject matter. While definitely larger than life and original, Grace never felt like a character I could warm too.
And, just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse for her, the story finished. Grace was up to her neck in it, having sunk about as low as she could get and the book finished. Bang – just like that. No explanation. No resolution.
I’m not a fan of this approach, leaving readers to wait for the next book in a series to find out what happened.
Fans who have grown to like the characters and the author’s writing may not mind this at all.
There are some fates worse than death . . .
Called to a Southampton nightclub, Detective Inspector Helen Grace cuts the duct tape from the asphyxiated victim and discovers she knows him.
A man from the double life she has concealed from her superiors, Helen is determined to find his murderer – while keeping their relationship hidden at all costs.
When a new victim is found, Helen works around the clock to stop her life unravelling. She’ll do anything to solve this case – but dare she reveal her own darkest secrets and lose everything?
And would even that be enough to stop this killer?