Forensic psychologist Doctor Alexander Gregory is renowned for being able to uncover whatever secrets lie hidden in the darkest of minds and, very quickly, he finds himself drawn into a murder investigation.
A killer is on the loose in County Mayo, Ireland and panic has taken hold on the rural community. The Garda are running out of time. Despite swearing to follow a quiet life, Gregory finds it impossible to turn down their desperate request for assistance.
Regular readers of this blog will know I’m a big fan of L.J. Ross’s DCI Ryan series so it was with some excitement that I picked up ‘Impostor‘, the first book in the Alexander Gregory series.
Despite having insane success with the DCI Ryan series, L.J. Ross has shown she isn’t afraid to take risks by embarking on a new series set in a new location. Ross has clearly done her research into psychological profilers – her portrayal of Gregory demonstrates her depth of knowledge. However, the story doesn’t lose its pace or get bogged down in unnecessary detail. It’s a real skill that Ross has honed – balancing backstory with pace.
The characters in ‘Impostor‘ are well-drawn with hidden depths. Gregory’s backstory is intriguing and I like how Ross manages to create three-dimensional characters who contribute to the narrative throughout.
Setting ‘Impostor‘ in Ireland gives Ross plenty of beautiful scenery to draw on and she does so with aplomb. L.J. Ross uses the countryside to create an atmosphere that contributes to the tense narrative.
As usual, L.J. Ross ensures that the reader is kept guessing until the very end. I was convinced I knew who the perpetrator was, only to be blind-sided by the big reveal.
I’m looking forward to reading ‘Hysteria‘, the next in the series.
Posted in Books, reviews
Tagged atmosphere, backstory, blog, book, characters, location, narrative, pace, reading, research, series, story, tense
The doorbell rings in the middle of the night and when Cat’s husband opens it, the police are there – with his eleven-year-old love child, Ruby: a daughter Cat didn’t know he had. The couple take Ruby into their home and Cat’s life begins to unravel.
‘Give Me the Child‘ is a perfect example of domestic noir: terror in your home.
The tension between Cat and her husband – as well as Cat and her new-found step-daughter – spills off every page. The idea of a cuckoo in the nest is a very interesting one, particularly when it complicates the existing familial relationships.
I found it easy to empathise and identify with Cat. Her situation, although slightly unusual, felt utterly realistic to me.
McGrath handles the subjects of paranoia and psychosis sensitively while allowing them to play into the narrative of the story. McGrath reveals just enough information at pertinent points in the story, to wrong foot the reader and make them question who to believe. The characters are interesting, particularly in relation to Cat’s job in child psychiatry.
‘Give Me the Child‘ has everything you could want from a psychological thriller: an intriguing storyline, pace and tension from page one. An absolute tour de force.
It’s 1989, the second Summer of Love, and Tommy Collins is doing what he does best: organising all-night raves on a shoestring, and playing a game of cat and mouse with the police. But his adversary, Detective Chief Inspector Peach, is closing in on him, and his dreams of a better life are beginning to slip through his fingers.
DCI Peach finds it all a waste of his force’s time until his teenage daughter is found unconscious at one of Tommy’s raves. Then the issue becomes personal, and Peach’s need to make Tommy pay becomes an obsession.
Set in Newcastle upon Tyne, during a moral panic, ‘The Rave‘ is a fast-paced, gritty portrayal of life on the edges of society at the end of a decade that changed Britain forever.
As with Nicky Black’s previous novel ‘The Prodigal‘, ‘The Rave‘ is set on the fictional Valley Park estate. Nicky Black captures the essence of the characters that reside within this community perfectly. They’re funny, offensive and complex – and they don’t hold back. Black uses her characters to bring light and shade to her story, showing that even the grimmest of circumstances have a vein of humour.
Black’s narrative voice is strong, with the reader’s attention grabbed from the prologue. As a native Geordie, I loved the setting and found I could imagine ‘The Rave‘ on TV. Black has captured not only the location but also the era very well with her strong eye for detail. As the end of the book approaches and the stakes increase, so does the pace.
With an original plot and setting, as well as compelling characters, ‘The Rave‘ delivers on all fronts.
Posted in Books, reviews
Tagged book, characters, fictional, Geordie, location, narrative, novel, pace, plot, prologue, reader, setting, story