This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Reviewed by Kate Appleton
DI Charlotte Savage is back, chasing a killer who was last at large ten years ago, a killer they presumed dead. Now he’s back and more dangerous than ever. When three headless bodies are found mutilated in a pit, it’s a particularly challenging case for DI Savage and her team. The bodies bear the hallmarks of a killer who was never caught and who butchered girls on Midsummer’s Day. Could this be a copycat or has the original killer resurfaced? With a steady stream of bodies arriving at the morgue and gruesome secrets from the past emerging, DI Savage is up against it to find the killer before he attacks again. The past has caught up with them. And so has he…
The style of writing for this crime novel is a multi-narrative, dividing the chapters between the voices of the police force, namely DI Charlotte Savage, but also that of our psychopathic serial killer. This is effective in building not only tension, but fear within the reader, especially with the added countdown to the next murder on the 21st June, which is only seven days away from when they find the bodies.The extracts from the serial killer are really chilling. As a reader we are brought along as witnesses for not only the selection of his next victim, but also the descriptions of what tortures he is going to bear down on her. Added to this are the snapshots of his unimaginably troubled childhood and the events that led up to the moment of his first kills. Finally the details and introduction to his assistant ‘Micky’, whose psychological disabilities and predilections towards the women which is nothing short of grotesque, provide us with a nightmare duo.
I enjoyed immensely the detailed descriptions of the police procedures especially the aspects of having to deal with the PR machine and the media sensationalizing the story. Equally, the extracts regarding the mob mentality and the pressures to make an arrest were particularly interesting given today’s social expectation with regards to the police force.
Running parallel to the central storyline is that of the personal vendetta DI Charlotte Savage has against the unknown hit and run driver who killed one of her twin daughters. This provided a supporting role to the themes of family and motherhood that consistently run through the story. It also highlights Charlotte’s determination to catch the killer and, combined with a huge plot twist at the end of the novel, creates a smooth transfer into Sennen’s next outing with DI Savage. Occasionally I found the odd sub-plot unnecessary; perhaps it was to provide a distracting red herring. However, the addition of a murdered local prison warden and a series of bribes were, I found, rather superfluous to the overall story. Also there were a number of names of police detectives that I either lost track of or forgot. Instead, I focused my energies on the main roles of Savage and XX.
Overall, this is a dark, sinister and immensely satisfying crime novel. Having not read any of the other DI Savage series, I was pleased to discover that it didn’t affect my enjoyment. I would recommend this to all crime enthusiasts, however, if like me you read before bed, perhaps it’s best you bolt the doors and buy a night light as it doesn’t guarantee the sweetest of dreams – even with the cake!