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Crime fiction by numbers...
on 12 June 2016
Clearly there are many people who like this book but, as a voracious reader of crime fiction, I was very disappointed by it. The plot is utterly ludicrous, the protagonist unconvincing, and the repeated very detailed descriptions of the killer's victims starving to death, whilst drinking their own urine and surrounded by their own excrement, were unpleasant in the extreme.
The author used to write for Eastenders, and while the book is a very slick, professional production, it is formulaic and reads as if designed to provide the basis for a pitch for a multi-book deal. I was left with the impression not that the author had a story he wanted to tell, but that he had carefully designed it to incorporate the elements from a tick list compiled from previously best-selling serial- killer thrillers, to use as the basis for a pitch to a publisher. It's like painting by numbers - very proficient, but it has no soul.
There's nothing wrong with that in it itself, but the best crime fiction series novels seem to develop organically, rather than being put together as a kit from the start... eg Reginald Hill, Donna Leon, Ian Rankin.
If this book is the kind of thing you like, it's an excellent example of its kind, as I'm sure are the succeeding volumes in the series. I shan't be reading them, though. I think this book is a sad waste of the talent of a good writer.