James Carol’s books remind me of the few novels I’ve read by Stephen King. They’re examples of how books can be both readable and well written. As crime fiction readers I think we’ve come to expect this and yet, so often, I put a book down after a couple of chapters unable to engage in either the prose or the narrative. Not so with this series.
Carol’s main protagonist is a former FBI profiler, Jefferson Winter, who travels the world identifying and tracking down serial killers.The first book in the series, Broken Dolls, had Jefferson in London, a neat twist on the FBI profiler genre. In Watch Me, he is in now in Louisiana trying to find a devious killer who filmed himself burning a local businessman to death. But Winter is forced to recognise that he is dealing with a complex personality who isn’t necessarily fitting a classic serial killer profile.
Like Broken Dolls, Watch Me is immensely readable. The storytelling is addictive and I raced through to the end. There are some interesting threads interweaved through the narrative. Jefferson chooses a rookie cop to be his assistant and there is a lot of banter around trying to guess his first name. Similarly, Hannah, the guest house owner where Jefferson pitches up, is often one step ahead of him when it comes to town secrets.
Those who have visited the States will be transported to small town Louisiana in the book. The minor details, such as describing the local dishes eaten in the town’s diner, bring the deep South to life. Watch Me is different to the type of book I usually read but perfect when you want to be drawn into a compelling narrative.
Thanks to Faber for my review copy.