Post Script: The Advent Killer – Alastair Gunn

The Advent Killer

Alastair Gunn

Penguin Books Australia

Penguin

ISBN: 9781405914440

 

 

Description:

At first they said it was coincidence.

Number one drowned; number two beaten to death. But when a third woman is murdered at exactly one a.m. on a third consecutive Sunday, DCI Antonia Hawkins finds herself on the hunt for a cold, careful killer whose victims seem to be chosen at random.

As public panic spreads in the weeks before Christmas, Hawkins and her team have to stop a killer whose twisted motives can only be guessed at before another week brings another victim. When the clock strikes one . . .

My View:

Don’t be mistaken, this is NOT a cozy crime read!

The opening sequences are ghoulish and breathtaking! The voice of the villain in this narrative is particular loathsome and malignant, his rationale making sense only to himself.

This is an excellent debut crime novel and I think we are going to see more of DCI Hawkins and her team. There were elements in this book that reminded me of the early DCI Tennison character in the Prime Suspect series – Hawkins is another female detective fighting crime whilst simultaneously struggling to survive in a male dominated profession that is at constant odds with her position of power; sexism in the workplace is a strong subplot in this narrative.  I wish her luck!

Post Script: Dead Man’s Time – Peter James

Maybe one for the fans of the series 

Dead Man's Time, Peter James

Dead Man’s Time (Roy Grace #9)

Peter James

Macmillan

Pan Macmillan

ISBN: 9780230760547

Description:

A vicious robbery at a secluded Brighton mansion leaves its elderly occupant dying, and millions taken in valuables. But, as Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, heading the enquiry, rapidly learns, there is one item, of priceless sentimental value, that her powerful family care about, above all else. And they are fully prepared to take the law into their own hands, and do anything, absolutely anything, to get it back.

Within days, Grace finds himself following a murderous race against the clock that leads him from the shady antiques world of Brighton, across Europe and back in time to the New York waterfront gang struggles of 1922, chasing a killer driven by the power of one man’s greed and another man’s fury.

My View:

I didn’t realise when I picked up this novel that is the 9th book in the Roy Grace series and for the most part I was happily able to progress through the book without any regrets or too much missing background aside from  missing the nuances of the sub plot relating to Sandy, which actually wasn’t very well developed, it didn’t add much to the story and largely I wondered why this section was even included.  I ploughed merrily through this book noting how well the author weaves the memories of the past with the current world of the main characters.

This is a well written, incident based, police procedural that climaxes in an explosion of retribution. The narrative has an authentic voice and is an interesting and well constructed read but for me lacked strong believable characters (aside from Gavin Daly who I thought was well written). I found Cleo whinny. I found Roy Grace too concerned with being a politically correct parent/police officer and a little one dimensional whilst he was at it. The intrusion of loose references to a certain contemporary book on erotica added nothing to the story and added no depth to the characters. Stereo types abounded.

However, if you are looking for a well plotted police procedural  this book is for you (and maybe if you have read the others in the series you might find a connection that I didn’t) and for me that was the books downfall – I didn’t connect with the characters.  I didn’t want to see the baby harmed but aside from that I didn’t really care about any of characters. And I wasn’t gripped by the narrative; I happily could put book the down for a day or two and then pick it up again.  And I found a flaw in the plot – a minor one but distracting all the same (I won’t reveal the problem but will say it is about identities).

 

 

 

Post Script: Alex – Pierre Lemaitre

Brutal, shocking, mesmerising; but justice will be served. 

Alex, Pierre Lemaitre

Alex

Pierre Lemaitre

MacLehose Press

Quercus

ISBN: 9780857051875

 

Description:

In kidnapping cases, the first few hours are vital. After that, the chances of being found alive go from slim to none. Alex Prevost is running out of time. And her abductor wants only one thing: to watch her die. Police Commandant Camille Verhoeven has nothing to go on: no suspect, no leads, no hope. But as he begins to understand more about Alex, he starts to realise she is no ordinary victim. Beautiful, tough, resourceful, always two steps ahead – the enigma that is Alex will keep you guessing till the bitter, bitter end. Before long, saving her life will be the least of Verhoeven’s worries.

My View:

My attention was grabbed in the first pages – Lemaitre knows how to woo the reader, to entice and lure you into the story. First we are seduced with Alex’s innocence and her simple pleasures as she tries on wigs; the adult playing dress ups. At some point she thinks she that she might be being followed, she tries to shrug off this feeling, goes out to dinner then on her walk home WAM!   “A fist slams between her shoulder blades, leaving her breathless…the man grabs her hair…punches her in the stomach hard enough to stun a bull.” (p.7) The brutality is simultaneously captivating and revolting…you cannot help but want to read more.

A kidnapping begins this impressive mystery. We sense the fear; feel the drama, and anticipate what is to come. We know and the victim knows it will not be pleasant.  We have been successfully baited, lured and hooked by Lemaitre. What a great piece of writing and we are only seven pages into the novel!

From this point on we are spun around, confused and conflicted by the revelations that follow.  Toss the coin, is Alex victim or perpetrator? Can she be both?

This is an amazing novel that captivates and spins a twisted tale of deception, of past sins and retribution and finally of justice. “Oh the truth, the truth…Who’s to say what’s true and what isn’t. Commandant? As far as we’re concerned what’s important is not truth, it’s justice – right?” (p354) And justice it is indeed!

PS

A great translation by Frank Wynne – the words flowed easily and fluidly.