This was another Christmas gift! I love thrillers and this one did not disappoint. I started reading it on the plane coming back from Paris and I didn’t really pick it back up until last weekend because I was adjusting to a new routine and trying to sort out the house ready for when Hendricks comes home.
When it come to buying me books, you can never go wrong with anything that’s gripping or investigative. Today I started a book called The Crucifix Killer, and I’m very excited to get through that. One of my goals for February was to read more and it’s something I definitely want to stick to. When it comes to making goals for myself, I try my hardest to stick to them. Productivity is something that I feel quite passionately about. People who say they’re going to do something, then never follow through are the ones that get right on my tits. Just do it, if not, don’t say it!
One of the things I really enjoyed about this book was that it is set in 1997 and isn’t dominated by stalking the killer through social media or mobile phone activity. It’s also set in Durham, not the usual Southern city. Any book that has a killer who has been active for decades is always an interesting one. There are also small narratives in the novel too that all link back to the three protagonists; Ian, Helen and Tom. I hadn’t actually realised that this was one of four books in a series, so I will definitely be getting onto Amazon ASAP to purchase the other ones!
Anyway, back to the book. After a woman gets kidnapped after a night out in Newcastle, Ian Bradshaw is given the task to investigate it. Eight other officers have been suspended as they are being investigated for corruption. A body turns up in the woods, strangled and tied to a tree in the shape of a crucifix and he then learns that there have been many women who have gone missing over the last two decades, most of them never to be seen again. Realising what a mountain he now has to climb, he enlists the help from two investigative journalists, Helen Norton and Tom Carney.
They have an interesting relationship with each other and along the way we learn that Helen is jealous of Tom’s young girlfriend as it transpires that she has feelings for him and recently cut off her engagement. Tom admits to being a commitment-phobe and is torn when his first love appears at one of his events at the library. Jenna has just started a new life in a local village and is being blackmailed by someone unknown, so she also enlists Tom’s help.
As they delve further into the disappearance of the latest girl, Eva, they discover that one of the girls who went missing a few years ago turned up on a road very disorientated and had been hit by a car. She eventually died in hospital and her claims that someone had been keeping her in a container below the ground were rebuffed and the policeman who compiled the report and interviewed her before she died decided that she had become an alcoholic and drug addict, and her claims were made up to save herself from admitting the truth.
The deeper Ian delves, the more evidence is building that there is a serial kidnapper/ killer out there and that those women who the police/ families had presumed that the girls had just left home to start a new life elsewhere, were in fact, taken.
We don’t learn the identity of the kidnapper/ killer until the end of the book, but we get flashbacks from his life twenty years previous to that. He’s a highly religious man who used to be in the armed forces. He believes that every woman is a sinner and needs to be saved and God has put him on Earth to save them. He believes that if he keeps them locked away from the evils in the world, he can make them grateful and allow them to live a holy life.
Eva attempts to escape twice while in his custody and when she is locked in a room that can only be opened from the outside, she realises she needs to play his game to stay alive and have any hope of ever escaping. As Ian, Helen and Tom interview various family members of missing girls, they realise that someone on the investigation team has tampered with the evidence of previous cases and the ‘facts’ about the girls running away from home are fabrications and efforts were not put into finding them at all.
Tom is trying to juggle working with Helen, keeping Penny (his girlfriend) happy and helping Jenny with her blackmailer. Who turns out to be one of the disgraced policemen.
It’s such a gripping book with a brilliant narrative. You never feel lost with the different plots that occur throughout and I think some of the most impressive writing comes from the characterisation and the way you can connect with them. The writing is actually quite clever that each character has their own voice and you know which one you are reading. There is a great twist at the end and karma is definitely served, not just to the kidnapper.
I would thoroughly recommend this book. I really enjoyed it and it’s made me want to buy the rest of the books in the series to see how it all started! It’s only £4.50 on Amazon at the minute, click here to buy your copy.