There are so many crime fiction novels that I want to read. What I find myself increasingly doing these days is reading one book by an author just so I can get a flavour of their writing style. This generally works well although even this leaves me with a huge reading pile. The other problem is, of course, if you like a writer’s style you want to come back for more. I read Mari Hannah’s debut The Murder Wall in 2012 and she has just published the fifth in the series, Killing for Keeps. It’s impressive to see how much this series has developed.
Detective Chief Inspector Kate Daniels is called to scene of a brutal murder where a man has been tortured to death. It has the hallmarks of a gangland crime and when his brother’s tortured body is discovered in a nearby hospital, it becomes clear that a feud has taken a deadly turn. In a community where the police are seen as enemies, Kate is forced into decisions that could end her police career.
Killing for Keeps is an excellent example of how crime fiction series don’t need to be read in order. It was easy to pick up Kate’s personal story despite missing the intervening books and I found the detective’s turbulent personal life very human and moving to read about. The crime story was hard-hitting and gritty and, fortunately, most of the brutality was kept off the page which I prefer. The police investigation is very well portrayed. Hannah’s experience as a probation officer gives her an insight into the law enforcement world and there are touches which show how well she knows the system.The North-East setting is brought to life, in particular with use of Geordie vernacular but, by moving part of the narrative to Spain, the book was also given an international feel.
Existing Mari Hannah fans will love this latest addition to the series I’m sure but I also hope she gets new readers who enjoy a well plotted and excellently written crime novel.
Thanks to Pan Macmillan for my review copy.