A serial killer is on the prowl and this time, young, blond and attractive women are his prey. DCI Beckley had enough on his plate already; he didn’t need this new guilt-ridden case. But, he’s the primary on it and he’s roped in the help of reporter Kate Rivendale to stop these gruesome murders. But, when the murderer begins to retaliate back, her life is put on the line and DCI Beckley is racing against time to keep her alive.
It’s a thriller. There’s a serial killer who attacks pretty blond women- check. He has a specific MO that will eventually escalate- check. We have a handsome policeman and a pretty journalist tracking him- check. See, the book checks all the corners…but, maybe that’s the reason I felt I could predict where it’s going.
The story holds water. There are good clues smattered throughout the narrative leading to the killer. The deaths are shocking and the turn of events manages to convey that sense of urgency and despair quite well. You want to catch the killer as well, as much as, DCI Beckley- because you can feel his cruelty, his madness. In fact, the chapters written from his POV, I quite liked.
The prose now- the prose is where the problem lies.
The prose is in first person- which I’m not too fond of. I’ll tell you why: because seldom are characters written whose every thought you want to hear. Kate and Beckley are no different. It’s just a little more difficult to read them, because they are some of most guilt-ridden, self-censuring adults I’ve met in fiction; to the extent that there were times when I wanted to tell them to shut their whining, get over themselves and just live.
Also, the prose is repetitive and the ending was hurried. I knew the conclusion was coming- so, I wished for it to be a big grand reveal. Instead, after pages of deploring, suddenly, in the length of a chapter, it wraps up. I felt cheated, I tell you! I need more! Half the fun in reading a serial killer story is gloating over the catch at the end!
One other thing I noticed was weird- halfway through some fiftieth chapter, Beckley’s narration, without warning, shifts from addressing the reader to addressing Kate. It put me off for a bit before I could digest the sudden change.
Another thing was the use of certain words like screech, scorn, contempt and some others- I felt they were misused. As in you would shout for the nurse to get the defibrillator or you would yell; but, screech doesn’t fit right in that situation. The transition, in emotions especially, didn’t come off naturally during interactions due to such jarring usages at places.
The author shines while writing introspectively. I was pulled into the book for that very reason initially. But, introspection can’t fill an entire thriller, especially when you’re dangling a serial killer in front of my nose. However, I applaud the writer for attempting to write two damaged characters who’re dealing with some really hard situations in life.
BOTTOMLINE: The book needs a merciless, but objective editor. That’s the feeling I got by the end of it. I’ll say read it for the story. Don’t expect too much of the characters, don’t mind their hyperbolic statements about how damaged they are and don’t take notes during the narrative. Just read it for the story and make a movie out of it in your head.