I was a bit disappointed with this one, but found it wildly uneven, so the mid-rating is kind of a sum of highs and lows. The sections from Jason's PO...moreI was a bit disappointed with this one, but found it wildly uneven, so the mid-rating is kind of a sum of highs and lows. The sections from Jason's POV read as so much more assured and solidly-characterised than those from Amy's that it almost felt like two different books at times. As it's "supposed" to be the Amy Lane Mysteries, I puzzled a bit over why her sections felt less fleshed-out. Possibly it's because the author went a bit too far (for my taste) in withholding back-story to dole it out in small doses, and kept much more info for the second book? Whatever the reason, Amy was an intriguing-sounding character who started to wear thin for me after a while. Both had their fair share of straining-credulity too far moments, but Jason himself was still utterly believable.
Jason is an ex-con with a very kind heart and a willingness to clean even the the most disgusting areas of Amy's squalid flat, and as Amy has (some-underexplained-how) got a kind of informal consulting job with the Cardiff police, Jason ends up working with them too. The two detectives we get to know are fine, but Bryn (the older copper) goes with very unlikely speed from the traditional "I know *your* type, son" threats towards Jason, to allowing him blag his way into crime scenes (yes, really), and thinking how he likes him. Admittedly, they're so out of their depth with a serial killer attacking young women in Cardiff that some kind of rule-relaxing for the sake of getting him stopped makes sense, but not the degree there actually is. There are also two very convenient coincidences, which are too spoilerish to describe, but the second of them is a whopper that really shouldn't have been there.
I didn't even notice how much more I liked the Jason POV scenes than the Amy ones until talking to Katie, but on thinking back on it, it seemed that the really effective portrayal of her agoraphobia came from Jason's reaction to it, rather than the inside-her-head bits. Seeing Jason helping Amy with her panic attacks and crippling anxiety was great. Amy, though, came off slightly by-the-numbers mental illness, somehow, and I'm not sure if it would have helped if we'd got the full story on how she'd ended up that way. (view spoiler)[She stole **five million quid** from her parents' bank account and never got caught? And that when she and her sister had just been abandoned, before she'd even started her career as a hacker??? That seemed almost a throw-off, "look at how brilliant Amy is" kind of line, which I didn't much care for, for several reasons. (hide spoiler)]
There were multiple (generally fairly short) scenes from the perspective of the killer, which I usually dislike, and they did nothing to change my mind about that dislike. There was one short line, though, that made me hope nobody for whom it would be triggering would ever read this book. I have no particular reason to be triggered, but it was still deeply upsetting.
Not nearly as good a read as the first two books proper in the series, but does a fine job of showing a new and often very nervous Maeve learning the...moreNot nearly as good a read as the first two books proper in the series, but does a fine job of showing a new and often very nervous Maeve learning the ropes. It also explains a bit more why Maeve reacts quite as strongly as she does to the possibility of a romantic involvement with a colleague, albeit with perhaps a smidge of retro-fitting. Slightly more convincing is her thrill on first meeting Superintendent Godley, as a self-professed "police geek", which leaves her determined to find a way to work on his team in due course. The case itself is somewhat truncated, but behind the horror of this particular violent rapist is the weight of the many, many cases of domestic violence the police see so routinely.(less)
4.5 again, although things are already starting to blur slightly between the two books, which I read back to back.
The description on this one is quite...more4.5 again, although things are already starting to blur slightly between the two books, which I read back to back.
The description on this one is quite misleading, as "the public" hardly gets the chance to consider the killer a hero at all. Very grim killings, and Maeve struggles hard with her new "partner"/superior and his attitudes towards her (in particular, and everyone in general) and his moods and his behaviour. She's also struggling with her personal life, having moved into the latest of a series of new flats with some - interesting - tenants, being pressured by her mother, as always, and unsure about the potential relationship that never got going in the first book. I don't think I'm likely to have been too unusual in hoping against hope that she got over her reluctance before it was too late, as this relationship would pretty clearly be a good one. In fact, I was more than a bit cranky about it at times, despite the sensible element to her determination not to go for it. But the way it worked out in the end was both satisfying and slightly surprising. Surprising in showing a different side to Maeve's personality, which was both funny and touching.
There's another woman in the newly-expanded team for this book, and while she and Maeve should be immediate allies against the still-predominantly sexist and harassing males on the team, it's not that easy for Maeve. I liked how it resolved though, and hope to see the friendship develop more in future books. As Maeve has to focus so intently on her professional life, and as she believes in what she's doing so much, not all of her considerable intelligence is applied to life outside the job. This works well for me, as she's far more interesting than just an emotionally stunted workaholic, while not always being totally clued in about herself. I mention this because I just noticed that much of what I've written has to do with her relationships, even if many of those are with colleagues. Always difficult to talk about mysteries anyway, so I'll just let it stand at that for the moment. I will be reading the rest of the series - I read the novella Left for Dead and then had to stop myself from binge-reading all of the books, right-now-this-minute, as I was quite tempted to do. (less)