Wednesday, 8 January 2014

The Murder Code (Dark Room)

by Steve Mosby
368 pages - 18-17 $
Pegasus - 2013 

I decided to give a try to Mosby's first book in USA (but not in Europe as he's written many books already!) because I didn't know him but I already heard his name and because I've got a soft spot for serial killers books (and only books...) 

Thanks to Open Road Media and Netgalley for the book! 

The blurb

Detective Inspector Andrew Hicks thinks he knows all about murder. However horrific the act, the reasons behind a crime are usually easy to explain. So when a woman is found bludgeoned to death, he suspects a crime of passion and attention focuses on her possessive ex-husband. But when a second body is found, similarly beaten, Hicks is forced to think again.

When more murders arrive in quick succession, Hicks realizes he is dealing with a type of killer he has never faced before, one who fits nowhere within his logic. Then the letters begin to arrive ...
As the death toll rises, Hicks must face not only a killer obsessed with randomness and chaos, but also a secret in his own past. If he is to stop the killings, he must confront the truth about himself ...

What I think about it 

A very good book that reads quickly, you'll be carried away by the rhythm, the story and the dialogues. The characters are well written, realistic and not caricatural. Hicks is the central character but he's highlighted by his partner who doesn't hesitate to bring him back to earth with her ironic remarks. He must revise his ways of thinking, he who has always believed (and for good reasons) that there's always a reason behind every crime, at least for the criminal. I liked seeing his path between his stubbornness to seek the reason to then let go. I don't want to reveal too much not to spoil the fun but we discover a part of his past that allows us to understand his way of understanding the crime, hence his difficulty to detach from his paradigm.

The investigation is well built. You can see the police behind the scenes, their dark room, the viewing room, how it works. This is a team effort and the police station looks like an anthill once the list of victims too graphically demonstrates the severity of the investigation. We realize the demanding and required work an investigation of this kind demand and how long it may take to find a single clue. The police are drowning in various details to check, leaving a big lead to the killer who carries on his killing spree.

Some scenes may be disturbing, it's after all about people beaten to death to the point of being unrecognizable. We are seeing some of the murders through live action, video or story witnesses. There's also the cruelty to animals. However, the book is not all about the cruel exhibition of the murders. It's about the characters, their thinking, their history and especially that of Hicks who goes through a difficult period.

In a nutshell

A story well done, characters that you appreciate, a questioning of good and evil, in short, a great discovery for the beginning of the year ! I give it 4/5.

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