I’ve not read any books by Graham Smith before but he’s a well regarded crime fiction reviewer and runs the popular Crime and Publishment course at his hotel in Gretna Green. Watching the Bodies is a novel set in the scenic state of Utah. It’s an area that once visited and I remember struggling to find any books set in what proved to be an atmospheric landscape with remnants of the frontier lifestyle. In Smith’s book, Jake Boulder is asked by a PI acquaintance to help track down the killer of Kira Niemeyer, the daughter of a wealthy Utah family. Her father has no faith in the local police and is convinced that Kira had many secrets which might hold the key to her killing.
Jake is a Scot by birth and boasts about this proudly throughout the book. It makes him an outsider in Utah society but his job as a doorman at the Joshua Tree bar means he knows many of the faces about town. Watching the Bodies is a thriller with a twist in the tale, in this instance how the murderer selects his victims. It never becomes too gory, partly because of the fast pacing and also through the inclusion of light touches in the narrative, mainly in relation to the ineffectual local police force.
There’s an interesting relationship between Jake and his mother which I enjoyed reading about. The tough guy versus the matriarch makes for a thought-provoking dynamic and gave the reader something different to digest. An enjoyable book and a great start to a new series.