Good evening my lovely little bloggers. Just a quick thank you, firstly to Matthew Smith of Urbane Publications. Not only does he keep sending me wonderful books that I absolutely love but he even put a link to my blog, yes this blog, on his website. Total shock but an absolutely lovely one at that. Secondly, to the brilliant author Kevin Murray. This was a little bit of a shock to me after reading the last two publications from this publishing house, but it is devastatingly written nonetheless. Additionally, the internship is going very well for those of you that follow my steps into the publishing world. It’s been a little different to how I thought it would be but it is a learning curve all the same and I am trying my best to get everything done for them that they need doing! Fingers crossed they will be happy with the work I’ve been doing; I guess we’ll just have to wait and see! Now, without further delay, onto the review!
It started low and soft, but grew slowly, increasing in pitch and volume into an unceasing scream so loud and so desperate it pierced his primeval soul. The detective was stunned, his mind blank. On the ragged edges of his consciousness a prophecy took hold. He could see, with shattered clarity that there would never again be a time in his life that scream did not exist. London, 1986. A newspaper editor is horrifically murdered, his death quickly followed by a series of more brutal, and often bizarre, slayings. The police are baffled, the only clear link between the murdered being a single blood red rose left at the scene of every killing. Why? What does the rose mean? What connects the killer to each bloody corpse? Scotland Yard Detective Alan Winters leads a hunt for the elusive prey. As the body count rises, Jennifer Chapman renowned investigative journalist and daughter of the murdered newspaper editor sets out on a personal quest for revenge. Drawn together in their pursuit of a deadly quarry, Winters and Jennifer unwittingly face a fatal surprise, for the killer is closer than they think. As they close in on the truth of the blood red rose, their unseen foe plots a shattering end to his reign of terror, and death awaits them all…
One thing that I love about the books that I receive from Urbane Publications is that the characters are so incredibly well built; I don’t know whether Matthew focuses on this when picking the manuscripts to publish, but the way the characters build as the plot escalates is brilliantly explored. Winters is stocky and brooding but with a cheeky side that flaws his judgment at times but leads to a character that I could really empathise with. Additionally the way he empathises with Jennifer and yet also finds it impossible to let her research the deaths on her own is beautifully written and really pulls at the readers emotions. In a time of such hardship would you be able to stop someone finding out what really happened to someone they loved, just so much? It’s a difficult question but beautifully managed. This contrasted with the disfunctional Van Deventer (another detective on the case,) made for an interesting relationship. Gritty and masculine, they fight to become the alpha of the investigation. The fight between the two makes for an interesting read and only helps to draw the reader in more. I also loved the feisty nature of Jennifer that was coupled with her deeply emotional side; to be able to mix and match these emotions so fluidly is a great skill and it comes across very maturely and is a joy to read.
This was also wildly contrasted with the segments that came directly from the killer. Every so often we are suddenly given a set of dialogue from ‘The Rose.’ The lucidity of the killer was really magnified through the writing prose which helped to set a feeling of fear into the readers heart, which contrasted with the steely Winters and the determined Jennifer really gave the killer this manically unstable characterisation. Additionally by including these segments at times it allowed the reader to know the next steps of the killer which only made me read faster through the book; sometimes too much is given away through this technique but here it was managed maturely. Although I won’t give any spoilers away, I also liked the connection between the killings and the way that it confuses both the detectives throughout the investigation; it added another plot-twist to keep the reader on their toes. Additionally the clues the killer leaves, at times on purpose or accidental really gave the reader an insight into what the killer was doing and why. Although not allowing the killings it gave another weaving plot line to keep the reader absorbed.
I also loved the way the author really hid the final twist right till the very end; I don’t know whether I was determined that it was going to be a set person or whether I missed the clues, but I got it completely wrong. Through the author keeping his cards close to his chest at all times I was on the edge of my seat waiting to find out what was finally going to happen. By doing this it also makes the reader engage more in the plot line. The only slight complaint I had about the ending was that it read quite messily and I had to read it a number of times to make sure I had got the right person. Once again this could have been because I was determined that it was someone else, but it just didn’t come across as clearly as it should have. Although this is only a minor issue it did mean the tension was a little less than at first, however it may have been me gambling to get to the end and misreading. I also really liked the way the author held everything right to his chest until the very end; we were left with so little information that it really helped to increase the suspense and tension.
Overall this is a twisting mystery of murder, suspense, pain, family and love. With increasing tension throughout this story will keep you in the unknown till the very last page.