Length: 336 pages
Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book
What they say:
Her first love confessed to five murders. But the truth was so much worse.
Dublin’s notorious Canal Killer, Will Hurley, is ten years into his life sentence when the body of a young woman is fished out of the Grand Canal. Though detectives suspect they are dealing with a copycat, they turn to Will for help. He claims he has the information the police need, but will only give it to one person – the girl he was dating when he committed his horrific crimes.
Alison Smith has spent the last decade abroad, putting her shattered life in Ireland far behind her. But when she gets a request from Dublin imploring her to help prevent another senseless murder, she is pulled back to face the past – and the man – she’s worked so hard to forget.
The Review: I had read Distress Signals (review here) and really enjoyed but I have to admit when I read the opening chapter of this I was hopping around. Because this was fully up my street, heading more into the territory of everyday psychological thriller (kinda Kathryn Crofty for anyone who read her, for those of you who are fed up of me comparing everyone to her, I’m sorry, but she’s my holy grail in psychological thrillers to date).
Our protagonist, Alison Smith, has been called back to Dublin to talk to her ex boyfriend, who is in a psychiatric hospital after admitting to the murder of female students of St John’s University, ten years ago. With a new killer repeating history Will is saying he has information that he will only tell her. Here is a book that sends you around in circles and back again. You wonder via both Will and the detective on the scene (who actually I wouldn’t mind seeing more of) if there is any chance at all that Will could be innocent and your eyes search out every single word trying to figure out if you’re right or wrong. You also have to take into account that at the time Alison and her best friend Liz, were going through tumultuous times and we wonder why we need to know this ( I guessed why totally wrongly a number of times!!).
I loved both the detective aspect of the book-the perfection found in the expertly done ins and outs of the system (expected of course, from someone who wrote the mecca of all writing manuals, the ‘Self Printed’ spoken of here ) and also the cautionary aspects in terms of social media and student life too (a number of ‘what the frig’ moments in terms of getting information really got me). I hated/ loved following victims knowing where it was leading and wanting to help them, but being unable to (um, because it’s a book and not real life;)).
I have to admit one part that I didn’t quite need was the dark voice of the ‘baddie,’ but that’s just because in general I feel that unless they’re adding something significant to the book by showing us either an actual justification for the crime, or how they do it in a way the protagonist/ police can’t, then they’re just adding a ‘scary’ voice that isn’t necessary (this is more than likely totally me though!). The other thing was the last portion of the book which wasn’t quite for me, after the slow burn the sudden crazy drama just didn’t resonate and when I realised there was so much more to go I guessed the ending. Saying that I loved the book, the everyday, the twists, the turns, setting, marking Catherine Ryan Howard for me as a definite ‘straight onto the to be read list’ author. Thanks so much to Netgalley and Blackstone Publishing for this book in return for an honest review.