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KILLING THE SHADOWS
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Top customer reviews
On paper I guess the plot idea looked quite interesting and it certainly would seem to be full of intrigue and originality. Not only have we got another serial killer on the loose, this is a serial killer who is killing the writers of novels that feature serial killers in them. And if that wasn't enough, we also have a sub-plot featuring a serial killer and another sub plot featuring another murderer. Mind you, you don't pick up a McDermid novel and not expect a great amount of blood and gore do you! Just to add another twist to the tale the main serial killer (the one that's killing the writers of serial killer novels) is killing the novelists in a fashion as described in one of their books. Confused? To be honest the novel reads quite straight forwardly so this convoluted mess does sort itself out somewhat.
But such a complex and manufactured story is going to take some sever writing skill to carry it off and I'm afraid that this time Ms McDermid just doesn't do the job. The characters are either carbon copies of previous ones or cartoon cut-outs with no real personality traits. The sub plots are at the best pointless diversion, why have the Spanish serial killer of tourists? How did this tie in with the main plot? Finally the technical accuracy of some of the tools and methods used are suspect to say the least.
The final disappointment is the rushed and almost incomplete ending, after slogging through 500+ pages of story I do expect something a little better than sneaking up behind the killer and then happy ever after. I must admit, contrary to some of the other reviews here, I didn't spot the killer, but there again I wouldn't have expected this character to have done it, in such a wild and fantastic plot development.
The book is very readable and any fan to thrillers will churn through it in a matter of days, but don't blame me if you're left with a slightly stale taste in you mouth when finished.
I ploughed through the first two-hundred-odd pages with growing excitement at the story's multi-layered action and the possibilities that lay ahead. Crime writers being picked off one by one, ritualistic murder in Spain, a good honest cop's efforts to put right a previously-botched murder investigation, and, playing quietly in the background, the unsolved murder of the central character's sister. Great stuff! I ploughed on.
My mistake, and the reason for my disappointment, was in thinking that all the events would remain relevant. Looking back it does seem unlikely that so much content could. How could so much believeably tie together in the end?
The second half of the story was a let down. I can see the faint relevance of the Spanish murder investigation to the story, but did it warrant so much attention early on in the book? The revealing of the crime-writer murder was surprising, but in a flat and disappointing way, and the motive for murder is far from convincing. The final confrontation scene is a little too unbelievable and the 500-page build up deserved better.
Val McDermid is a great writer - The Distant Echo in particular stands out as a truly rollercoaster of a ride right to the last page - but if you reading her for the first time I'd skip Killing the Shadows and start elsewhere to avoid disappointment. She has done much better.
Most recent customer reviews
It was well written, and although the ending seemed a bit rushed, I enjoyed...Read more
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