Publisher: Pegasus Books
Genre: Crime Thriller/Mystery
Detectives David Murphy and Laura Rossi are charged with the investigation of the murder of a student at the City of Liverpool University. Attached to her body is a letter from her killer, which details a famous unethical psychological experiment—an experiment that the killer had replicated on the victim, resulting in her death. Convinced at first that the murderer is someone close to the victim, Murphy and Rossi dismiss the letter as a bid to throw them off the scent—until more bodies are found, each with their own letter attached.
When it becomes apparent that each victim has ties to the university, the detectives realize they’re chasing a killer unlike any they’ve hunted before—one who doesn’t just want his victims’ bodies, but their minds as well. As they rush to prevent any more deaths, they are forced to delve into the darkest channels of psychological research in an attempt to understand the motives of the madman.
By now most of you know that nothing makes me happier than discovering a new to me author. The only thing better is realizing that there are already three more books in this series! Never mind that for now they’re only available in the U.K., that’s what Book Depository is for. This was crime fiction the way it’s supposed to be with intelligent detectives, an extremely complicated case, and plenty of surprises along the way.
Essentially there are two mysteries going on here, the obvious is the case that Murphy and Rossi are trying to solve, but there is also the murder of David’s parents lingering in the background. Though he knows who is responsible for their deaths, it’s revealed to the reader slowly and precisely. It’s clear that Murphy has had a rough time as of late as he’s estranged from his wife Sarah and has been for the past year and a half. He’s struggled on the job as well as in his personal life and this case is his chance to redeem himself.
I really liked Veste’s writing style, it’s smart and sharp and he juggled various viewpoints and timelines like a pro. There are chapters from eighteen months prior when a woman named Jemma disappears, then present day from Murphy, but there are also some parts told from the point of view of the killer and I love getting to see a peek inside their depraved minds. He’s a ruthless serial killer and he immensely enjoys toying with not only his victims, but also the police. This is violent and at times a bit gory, so it’s definitely not for the faint of heart.
There is great character development with Murphy and I really liked seeing him grow as the book progressed. I liked him individually but the scenes with him and Rossi really shone brightly, she’s younger and fresher than he is and they balance each other out perfectly. I changed my mind about who the killer was several times, and though in the end my hunch was right, Veste still managed to throw me for a loop a few more times. I can’t wait to see where this series takes these two and I’m looking really forward to reading more from Veste.
Overall rating: 4/5
Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.