ABBEY’S BOOKSELLER PICK —— Crime fiction comes in many flavours and ‘serial killer’ is one I tend to steer clear of for the simple reason that I don’t want to occupy the same brain space. I don’t need that in my head. A police lieutenant in this story characterises interest in serial killers as a spectrum, from the killers themselves, down to those "who order paintings from Gacy and Charles Manson CDs, then below that are the ones who write porno-detailed true crime books, then the ones who hack out less f**ked-up books, write for less f**ked-up websites, all the way down to your mom and dad, watching CSI reruns five nights a week." I’ll cop to the occasional CSI but draw the line well before CSI SVU.
But Nathan Ripley takes a clever way in to his story, using a tech-millionaire with time on his hands, whose hobby is scouring serial killer interview transcripts for clues to the whereabouts of the bodies of their victims. His anonymous tip-offs concern police as much as they find them helpful. The zest in this story is in what we discover about our ‘good samaritan’, his relationship with his wife and daughter, and the friends-with-benefits relationship between the two main detectives. Detective Sandra Whittal is inspirational in her single-minded focus and toughness. Plus, Ripley’s dialogue shines. So although I squirmed a little midway through, this is a fresh approach to the sub-genre, with plenty of twists. I think I’ve escaped unscathed. In fact, I'll go one better and say it was very entertaining. Craig Kirchner [more bookseller picks]
p.s. Tip of the hat to the tag-line writer too: ‘There’s a villain in every hero. You just need to dig a little.’
A chilling debut thriller in the vein of Dexter and The Talented Mr Ripley.
Martin Reese has a hobby: he digs up murder victims. He buys stolen police files on serial killers, and uses them to find and dig up missing bodies. Calls in the results anonymously, taunting the police for their failure to do their job.
Detective Sandra Whittal takes that a little personally. She's suspicious of the mysterious caller, who she names the Finder. Maybe he's the one leaving the bodies behind. If not, who's to say he won't start soon?
As Whittal begins to zero in on the Finder, Martin makes a shocking discovery. It seems someone-someone lethal-is very unhappy about the bodies he's been digging up.
Hunted by a cop, hunted by a killer. To escape and keep his family safe, Martin may have to go deeper into the world of murder than he ever imagined.