This book has always stuck with me ever since I read it and I do want to continue reading the Erika Foster crime thriller series, (my TBR pile is steadily growing out of hand…) and once I do, I shall be adding it to my Series Review section. I was first struck with the opening scenes leading up to the discovery of the body and even to this day the imagery comes back vividly. That’s a sign of a great author and Robert Bryndza is just that.
So, my copy of this book has a very eye-catching cover. Even as I pick it up now, it still feels so creepy but also makes me want to read the book all over again. Once I finished the book, I felt that the blurb revealed a little too much as the link to the other three bodies wasn’t made until at least 3/5ths of the way through and although it is shocking in it’s own right, the blurb kind of made me anticipate that it was coming so it wasn’t as much of a shock that it should have been.
I can only compare the brutality of the crimes and the descriptive imagery in this book to Karin Slaughter (it’s a compliment as I love her books) as they are extensive and particularly harrowing by nature in this story-line. Robert has an impeccable way with words and the setting of the scenes and locations used fits with the stark contrast of class reflected in the plot. There is this combination of political and social avenues explored not only in the investigation itself but among the team of police officers themselves. Almost as if the author wanted to tick every discriminatory box possible; gay, black, male, female, sexist, ageist etc. I’m not adverse to it, and it think it works, but as the relationships grew between Erika Foster and her new team members I felt it was a bit waning to discover that the personal lives of each officer eliminated an option in the categorical spectrum just to essentially cover all characters basis’.
There is an extreme theme of authoritarianism flowing from first page to last, and I like a strong female lead character as much as anyone but it became wearing and exasperating as she relentlessly disobeyed orders although she would always justify it and somehow convince the superior officer based on an unspoken personality trait. I enjoyed this book, don’t get me wrong and I don’t want it to seem like I’m tearing it apart. Erika is a feisty, strong-willed, outspoken, arrogant, straight-to-the-point character who strives to deliver unbiased justice at heart and my God if I ever needed a detective to prove me innocent and fight for me then I would pick her! It just became a little unrelenting and I found myself skimming some of the paragraphs where she was inevitably called into Marsh’s office… yet again.
I mentioned earlier a political aspect but it is a unwavering theme throughout, but the author does a good job of writing in an impartial way and although naturally you empathise with the “lower class” characters and hate the “higher class” wealthy ones, it is a balanced book and I respect his ability to get that across in words. The ending was a little “just-in-time” and superhero, but exciting to read and fast-paced nonetheless. All in all, if you can stomach Erika Foster’s cat-with-9-lives approach to her job as a detective then it is a great book. I will want to read the next one “The Night Stalker” to see how, or if, she develops and for the sake of her superior officers and the reader’s sanity, I hope she grows up and comes across a little less entitled and brash. -GJ