Saturday, May 23, 2015

City of fear by Alafair Burke

Being a female detective is hard enough - being young, blond, attractive, and assumed to have slept your way into your promotion is even worse.  Ellie Hatcher is the newest member of Manhattan South homicide and is already on the wrong side of her lieutenant, not the best place to be when you are the new kid on the block and looking to make a good impression that will keep you in your chosen career.  When she stumbles across the body of a young murder victim on her morning run she has no idea that she is about to land herself in the middle of a very tricky and sticky murder case.

One cute, young, and blond murder victim will always attention, even in a sprawling metropolis like New York - especially when the victim is from out of town and her family and friends are willing to keep the case in the media spotlight in an attempt to help the NYPD catch the killer.  When the father of another murdered girl reaches out to Ellie she can't help but feel that there is a connection between the two cases, and when a second girl is found she starts digging into the cold cases that one of her now deceased colleagues thought might be related.  It is a dangerous career move though, her lieutenant wants her to stop digging and the district attorneys office is happy with the suspect they have.  As she digs deeper Ellie discovers more clues, but will she be in time to stop the killer from taking down his final target?

I discovered City of fear by accident, and I was pleasantly surprised.  I had already started reading when I discovered that it is the second book in the Ellie Hatcher series and not the first, and while I was worried that it wouldn't make sense of things would be missing, there is enough information peppered throughout the novel that you don't feel like you have missed anything if you haven't read Dead connection.  It seems as though there is a trend to have more of the how and why behind the "bad guy" - making them three dimensional in their flaws rather than just evil.  It also seems to be like the "heroes" are becoming more human, that it is more acceptable for them to have flaws and weaknesses.  The more you get to know the characters the more it feels like you are really in their world - and Burke has managed to turn out some well developed characters here that will stick with you long after the book is closed.  

I read a lot of crime, mainly because it tests your ability to solve the puzzle ahead of the agent/detective, and there is some really amazing crime being written at the moment - and there are also some amazingly badly written crime novels that are a (ahem) crime against the genre.  I have picked up and discarded quite a few in the past week or so, discarding them because they are trying to be too clever, because the authors have drowned the introduction with too much detail, or just because it felt wrong.  I was hooked from the start with City of fear, partly because it starts with the perpetrator of the crime, a faceless individual who seems to want you to come along for the ride.  By the time Detective Ellie Hatcher joins the party it feels like you have to keep reading for those delicious glimpses of the dark mind that is trying to make his twisted point.

I am waiting with eager anticipation to see what is next for Ellie Hatcher and the other members of Manhattan South homicide.  Alafair Burke has a real flair for writing and for bringing her characters to life, and I sincerely hope there are many more to come.

If you like this book then try:
  • Eeny meeny by M.J. Arlidge
  • The surgeon by Tess Gerritsen
  • One step too far by Tina Seskis
  • The silence of the lambs by Thomas Harris
  • Level 26: Dark origins by Anthony E. Zuiker and Duane Swierczynski
  • Now you see her by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
  • The basement by Stephen Leather
  • The postcard killers by James Patterson and Liza Marklund
  • Private Oz by James Patterson and Michael White
  • The survivors club by Lisa Gardner
  • Vodka doesn't freeze by Leah Giarratano
  • Kill switch by Neal Baer & Jonathan Greene
  • The edge of normal by Carla Norton

Reviewed by Brilla

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