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4.5 out of 5 stars
Deity (DI Damen Brook 3)
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 18 May 2012
I really love this novel. It's so much more than your run-of-the-mill thriller. Steven Dunne explores the psychology of his characters with forensic intensity. It's a thriller about the cult of suicide amongst teenagers, the glamour of dying young. Someone is playing God with their lives, and also the lives of corrupted adults - those the killer believes need 'cleansing'. It's ambitious with wonderfully realised characters, and a great sense of location - Derby, the Peak District - with its beauty and menace. Steven knows the geographical landscape intimately, but he also digs deep into the psychological landscape of modern life. Steven Dunne understands young people so well, their aspirations and fears about growing up in a morally bankrupt world. Their lives are the beating heart of this novel. And DI Damon Brook is a terrific character - he lives on the margins, is utterly devoted to his daughter, and is trying to hold back the tide of despair and breakdown he sees all around him. DEITY is dark and chilling but with a big heart at its centre. I loved it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 16 July 2012
I have read the first two books by Steven Dunne, featuring the fantastic Damen Brook, and loved them both but this one is magnificent. I literally could not put this book down, especially the last couple of hundred pages, and was completely and utterly absorbed in the story. When I first started reading it, which I had eagerly awaited after pre-ordering it months ago, I wasn't sure where the story was going and had worked out the perpetrator by mid way through the story, but didn't know how or why the events had / were occurring (I'm being totally cryptic for fear of giving away this wondeful plot). If you haven't read the first two by Steven Dunne, The Reaper and The Disciple which are brilliant books, I would highly recommend you do so as this is fiction at it's very best. Can't wait for the next book so hurry up and get writing Mr Dunne!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 20 August 2012
Deity is the third outing for DI Damen Brook, a resolutely old school copper with few friends in the force and less still outside it. If you've read Dunne's previous books, The Reaper and The Disciple you'll know that Brook is carrying some heavy emotional baggage from his previous cases, which have wrecked his promising career in the Met and seen him move up to Derby. Brook is a rare breed in crime fiction, no improbable vices, no smark-aleck tendencies, but with a keen intelligence and dogged determination to see justice done.

Deity opens with the discovery of a man's body in the Derwent, naked save for a loincloth, he has been scrubbed clean and his hair freshly barbered. It looks like a suicide until they flip him over and discover evidence of amateurish surgery on his torso. The killer has emptied his chest cavity and stitched him back up before dumping him. Initially Brook and his team assume it must be some kind of mix up at a funeral home or a morgue. The victim is a tramp so there is little pressure to find his killer, but then another body surfaces in a local gravel pit, another dead vagrant with his internal organs missing. Except this time the heart has been stitched back in and Brook detects an improvement in the killer's technique. Is he just practising on these homeless men? Refining his skills for more noteworthy victims?

Perhaps the four students who have gone missing from home after an eighteenth birthday party. They're a disparate bunch, Becky the model-wannabe indulged by her father and despised by her mother, Kyle the sensitive soul from a broken home, struggling with his sexuality, Russell the film lover always hiding behind a camera of his own, and Adele, clever, troubled Adele, caught between a lusting father and a dismissive ex-lover. At first no-one takes their disappearance too seriously. Teenagers stay out all night, get drunk, take spontaneous trips abroad. But as Brook's team delves deeper into the youngsters' last known movements they make some strange discoveries. Laptops have been wiped, Facebook accounts closed and SIM cards taken out of phones. It all looks planned, almost staged. And then the video appears - Deity.com - showing the missing teens committing mass suicide.

Deity is a deeply unsettling and totally engrossing book. The story is multi-layered and fiendishly plotted, full of blind alleys and wicked twists which ensure you never know what or who to believe. But this is more than just another serial killer novel, Dunne has tackled some big issues in Deity, the drive for self-destruction, and how it is inextricably linked with adolescent fear of failure and mediocrity, the allure of fleeting fame and the pervasiveness of social media in young peoples lives. Too many authors present their readers with a cool and perfect corpse at the beginning of a book, devoid of any personality, but Dunne's clique of maybe-victims are messy, complex, full flesh and blood characters. It takes a writer of rare perception to produce credible teens and Dunne has pulled it off beautifully.

If you're a fan of Mark Billingham's Thorne novels or the late, lamented Morse, then Steven Dunne is the writer for you.

Five stars.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
I have been absolutely gripped by Steven Dunne's third novel Deity for the past two days and even though I have not read the first two novels in this series featuring D I Damen Brook I was hooked from the opening paragraphs.

Deity will be published in hardback by Headline on 26 April 2012, the paperback is released on 21 June. Set in the city of Derby and featuring the dark and brooding Detective Inspector Damen Brook, this is number three of a series, the follow-up to The Reaper and The Disciple.

I'm really picky about crime novels, I want a clever plot with characters that are three-dimensional, realistic and intelligent, I want a plot that grips, that makes me lose track of time and that I don't work out for myself before the end. Deity delivers all of those things, and more, much much more. This is one of the cleverest, slickest and at times, terrifying stories that I've read for a long long time - a sick, twisted psychopathic serial killer matched by an intelligent, if somewhat flawed Detective. Damon Brook has a history which is referred to during the story, not having read the first two books in the series in no way spoils this one, the reader learns enough about Brook's past to understand his psyche, and to warm to him, and to forgive his straightforward, almost rude mannerisms.

Brook is investigating two cases which on the face of it appear quite separate - a couple of murdered 'tramps' who are missing some vital organs and the disappearance of four local college students. As Brooks and his team delve deeper into each case, it becomes clear that they are linked, it also becomes clear that there is a dangerous, warped and extremely clever person behind the horrific crimes.
With clever twists along the way, a couple of red herrings thrown in for good measure, some seriously scary detail and a cast of characters who jump from the page, this book ticks every ingredient for a perfect read.

My mission now is to get out and buy copies of the first two in the series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 June 2015
This is the third book in the DI Damen Brook series by Steven Dunne.
There are two seemingly unconnected cases which attract DI Brook's attention: Case One is the case of a body which is found but which is missing most of it's internal organs and Case Two is the disappearance of 4 students who appear to want to kill themselves according to their video postings on the internet. Brook has to put the pieces of a jigsaw together to establish if the cases are connected. He has to establish the who, where, what, how, why and when of both cases. However Brook makes a bit of a boo boo in that he allows his daughter to pretend to be a policewoman and to search somebody's bedroom. This ultimately gets Brook into bother and jeopardises part of the investigation. When Brook completes the jigsaw he (almost) sees the complete picture and he faces a race against time to apprehend the villains and rescue the captives. Brook's daughter is threatened and fearing for her life, Brook desperately tries to find her.
This book is full of twists and turns right until the very end. In fact it is comparable to a roller coaster ride as just when you think things have settled, off you go again. My stomach lurched on more than one occasion.
The descriptions are very detailed and graphic in that you can almost visualise yourself there in the room as an invisible onlooker. Some of the details were particularly gory and I wouldn't advise you to be eating anything when you read certain parts.
Brook is a very likeable character with his flaws but also with his strengths. He is loyal to those he trusts and he is protective of those he considers to be friends ie: his work colleague DS Noble. Brook dislikes authority figures . He unnerves and wrong foots his superiors and his enemies by being polite to them at all times, no matter what is thrown at him. This works most of the time. I also loved Brook's ability to psychologically analyse any situation or anybody. He sees clues where there are apparently none.
I have developed something of a soft spot for DI Damen Brook and as a result I feel very protective of him. I felt that an attack on him was an attack on me. As usual I became far too involved in the book.
This series of books, gets better and better with each subsequent book. At times you sort of want to hide behind your hands and stop reading as the tension is too much but at the same time you want to read more and not miss out on anything.
I think that this series is a television waiting to be made.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 March 2014
One thing about a Steven Dunne novel is it is multi-layered, familiar (I live close to Derby)but complex. His plots are clever, clear and chilling. However, he appears to have more ideas than one book can hold, consequently, he always crashes through the buffers where other authors would pull gently into the railway station.
Deity has 2 terrific villains; a whole separate novel could focus on "The Embalmer" but Dunne cleverly weaves the whole thing together into a modern police procedural thriller.
Bumping off homeless guys, gives Dunne an opportunity to speak about an underclass, people no-one would miss and forgotten even before death finally eases their pain. Contrast this with a group of missing students, inspired by media idols and internet fame. Death seems a natural progression for the vulnerable within both groups but when someone appears to be manipulating it to the point of encouraging self harm and suicide the police under Brook have an investigation far more demanding than a missing persons case.
The thing I love about these novels is the richness of the text; demonstrating clear planning and competant research while engaging the reader fully. You are left with an incredible story you need to read to the end as quickly as possible. However the novel is so entertainingly set up that it draws you in and leaves you enthralled with characters you like to be around, victims you care about perpretrators who are a match for our bright inelligent detective.
Brook is a loner, a flawed person. An inadequate father and a driven copper who seeks justice but loves the hunt above all else, pitching his wits against the most evil of serial killers. Recent history demonstrates that he doesn't always get his man, or that his methods are not error strewn. This has dogged his career and prevents him finding peace. However, it is the trait of the author perhaps to torture his main protagonist; he will not let him rest or shuffle off into gentle retirement. No Dunne fires up Damen's demons and again this book toys with the idea that there is no closure, that no story can finish or if it did, the author would cease his creative process.
For the reader this leaves the need to find out more and await the next book in the life of DI Brook and happily having just finished reading this one I have the next installment all ready to go......read on.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 10 December 2012
A solid combination of British police procedural and serial killer thriller, `Deity' is the third book from Steven Dunne featuring world-weary detective, DI Damen Brook. Focusing on the mysterious disappearance of four students and the discovery of seemingly unrelated bodies showing signs of Egyptian death rituals, Brook and his team find themselves immersed in two utterly mystifying cases that will test them, and Brook in particular, to their limit. With more than one or two red herrings and blind alleys along the way, Dunne has carefully crafted a clever hybrid of two crime sub-genres that will appeal to fans of the straightforward police procedural in the style of Peter Robinson or John Harvey and the darker psychological and visceral edge of Mo Hayder.

I think the main strength of this book throughout is the character of Brook himself, who has some personal issues of his own that colour and confuse his relationship with his colleagues and his estranged daughter Terri. Terri has suffered enormous personal tragedy and as she builds bridges with her father, Dunne captures their changing relationship beautifully. A point of humour in the book is Brook's relationship with his work colleagues where he displays an off-handedness and lack of interest to the nth degree, and relies heavily on his police sidekick DS Noble to almost act as an interpreter for him when relating to people on a more personal level. Brook has a cynical, yet determined, mindset and does not suffer fools gladly, and in the slowly revealed back story has more than enough reason to conduct himself in the way he does having been involved in a notorious and unresolved serial killer case at serious personal cost. He displays the traits of a typical grumpy old man slightly at sea in the face of modern culture and technology, and who abhors the use of incorrect English and swearing, which again levitates the seriousness of the central plot with some nice comic touches. I think the strength of characterisation of Brook does carry the book, as I did find the plot a little langorous for my taste, and by the 400 page mark was feeling that it was slightly unnecessarily drawn out, although the conclusion was satisfying enough and left an interesting little teaser for the next in the series. None of the other characters resonated particularly strongly with me, but in the best traditions of crime writing, were all guilty of some of the nastier aspects of human nature and muddied the waters of detection well enough to test the reader's own powers of deduction.

Overall a stronger police procedural than serial killer thriller, I would say, and an enjoyable read. I will certainly seek out the first two books, `The Reaper' and `The Disciple' on the strength of DI Brook's character and to know more about the previous case that has had such a profound effect on him. All in all a good discovery, and another strong addition to the British crime stable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Deity is a decent novel, well written, well crafted and easy to read. Quite typical of it's genre which is serial murder/police procedural, but it's set in and around Derby, my hometown, and I enjoyed reading about places I'm familiar with. Made a nice change for an author to set his novel in the East Midlands rather than one of the major Cities. Deity concerns itself with a variety of murders, from the homeless through to the student population, and the murders are grisly enough to give you a chill. There's a sense of building tension as the author examines the possibility of ritualistic suicide, filmed for the internet, alongside the mystery of bodies being discovered missing their vital organs. For DI Damen Brook, Derby CID, the puzzle is; are the deaths linked and, if so, is there a psychopath at work? That's the clever part of the plot, there are a lot of twists and turns in Deity, there's certainly enough to stop you from getting bored. There's an element of cat and mouse as time begins to run out for DI Brooks and the mystery of the unexplained deaths moves close enough to threaten his family. I enjoyed the ending of the book, it's cleanly written and hard to guess which is always a bonus. I do have one slightly negative comment; Deity carries some extremely dark and brooding storylines but it's quite lightweight and lacks that extra something to prevent the plot falling flat which, unfortunately, it does from time to time and I found that disappointing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 5 February 2013
This is the most enjoyable 'crime' novel I've read recently. So good that I read it in two days, could hardly put it down and read every word, no skimming at all as I wanted to read fully. Interesting characters, a great plot and the essential twist in the tale. All the students, constabulary and public took on real personalities and their features loomed large in my imagination, not something that happens often I can tell you. So as this is the first Steven Dunne novel I've had the pleasure of looking into I shall be going back for more. Thankyou for taking the time and trouble to write for Joe Public like me...Deity
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is an enjoyable police procedural, although I did have my reservations about it.

Set in and around Derby, the story concerns two series of events, the bodies of homeless alcoholics turning up in unusual circumstances and the disappearance of college students, both of which are investigated by Inspector Brook. Brook, naturally, has a Troubled Personal Life and difficult relationships with colleagues and authority although this isn't too badly overdone. The book is well written in readable, unintrusive prose, dialogue and characters are by and large believable and the story is well told.

I have two main reservations. Firstly, at 530 pages the book is too long. I don't mind a long book provided there is a lot to fill it, but I felt there wasn't a real sense of place generated and some rather clumsy speechifying rather than the subtle emergence on important issues so eventually things dragged a little and some editing would have improved this a lot. Secondly, the climax and explanations were quite remarkably implausible and in the end I found it just silly.

However, the book did keep me reading to the end and this and the writing itself would make three stars very churlish. It's a decent thriller if you are prepared to stretch your ability to suspend disbelief.
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