Thursday, February 1, 2018

Still waters by Nigel McCrery

DCI Mark Lapslie has been on "gardening leave" for the past few months, a charming catch all euphemism used to describe long term leave for health reasons.  His health reason is synaesthesia, a neurological condition that means his senses are 'cross wired' and he tastes the noises around him.  Sometimes it is pleasant, a taste of citrus across his tongue when he hears a voice, a taste of chocolate when his phone rings - other times it might be the taste of rotting meat when he hears a certain song.  The condition has wreaked havoc on his personal life too, driving his wife and children out of the family home because he couldn't handle the tastes that came with the normal sounds of family life. 

Forced away from regular police work Lapslie has worked on special projects, staying away from the bustle and noise that is synonymous with a police station.  When a phone call comes out of the blue asking him to come to a crime scene it is a shock, not just because he has been called to a case, but also because his name was flagged because of an aspect of the case that sounds vaguely familiar but doesn't ring any real bells.  What he discovers is an elderly victim in a shallow grave with a rather distinctive mutilation.  As Lapslie digs into the case he finds himself battling not only the unique challenges of his synaesthesia, but also a surprising amount of red tape.  There is a killer on the loose, and if no one stops her the list of victims will continue to grow.

I picked up Still waters after seeing the latest book in the series on a new books list, and as I like reading series in order I tracked down the first book in the series - and I was not disappointed.  Still waters is an interesting read, not just because it blends the parallel storylines of the killer and Lapslie so well, but also because of the history and depth of characters that are portrayed through the story.  Lapslie is not perfect, but he is also a unique character because of his neurological condition.   The killer is also interesting and unique in a world of serial killers clamouring for attention, she is not what you expect and has motivations that make sense.  There is also a subtle note of conspiracy that makes an appearance and makes you wonder what is going on.

I really enjoyed Still waters, and have passed the novel on to my mother to read as it was well written and well paced to keep you hooked from cover to cover - although for a senior citizen it may be a little close to home for her!

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Reviewed by Brilla

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