DI David Murphy and DC Laura Rossi investigate the murder of a student at the City of Liverpool University. Attached to her is a letter from her killer, which details a famous unethical psychological experiment performed on the victim, resulting in her death. Convinced at first that the murderer is someone close and known to the victim, Murphy dismisses the letter as a bid to throw them off the scent…until more bodies are found, each with their own letter attached.
There is communication from the killer, he spells out the fact that he is experimenting with death, and is fascinated by the psychological aspect of death, killing his victims in the name of horrible, shocking experiments. The team soon realise that they've got a serial killer on their hands.
This is a tale packed with intrigue; Luca Veste makes the reader suspicious and evokes fear in the reader with his dark plot. DI Murphy in particular has a strong backstory which is slowly revealed to us during the novel; he has difficult memories, disturbing dreams, and is haunted by a terrible loss in his past. DS Rossi is an interesting character too, and I was keen to read on and find out more about her, and see how the two would work together.
I was engrossed by the second strand of the tale about the missing woman and I really liked how this unfolded gradually alongside the narrative involving the current investigation. The narrative structure added interest and involved the reader, and the chilling plot keeps the reader guessing, arousing our suspicions and tempting us to make connections - keeping us turning the pages with eagerness. The author's knowledge of locations in his home city of Liverpool makes for an atmospheric, authentic sense of place, and one that is portrayed roundly, with light and shade. The story skips along at a good pace and is satisfyingly complex and absorbing. This is a dark, original and thrilling debut by a promising new crime writer.
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