The act of reading ... begins on a flat surface, counter or page, and then gets stirred and chopped and blended until what we make, in the end, is a dish, or story, all our own.
— Adam Gopnik
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September 24, 2014

R.I.P. IX: Crossbones Yard

I almost didn't read this book this week.  After spending several days with something so soft and lovely, and then starting and abandoning two books (probably because they, and everything, suffered in comparison), I wasn't sure I was in the mood for something modern and gritty.  But this book, and the two that come after it, came highly recommended by Fleur and Alex, and as if that wasn't enough, I thought that reading something a little out of my ordinary would be more fitting for R.I.P. IX.  {As you know, I read so many mysteries, most of them cozier, and so little gothic/horror/suspense, that I find it a little hard to find books that make the challenge a challenge.:) }

Our heroine is Dr. Alice Quentin, a psychologist working in a London hospital, who finds herself next on the rota to consult with the Met; she is asked to evaluate the dangerousness of Morris Cley, a depressed, clingy, wonderfully sad and sick murderer who is about to be released from prison. Alice grew up with an abusive father, and her claustrophobia, her mother's denial, and her brother's mental illness are the scars they bear. Running, almost literally pounding the pavement, is her therapy, and one night, running alone through empty London streets, she finds a woman's body.  Everything is connected, because Cley and the means of death of this first body, and the next one, all link back to murders committed by a depraved couple running a hostel for desperate young women and others. Then Alice is stalked, and receives threatening letters -- also connected -- and she leaves one mostly sexual relationship for a smouldering one with a detective involved in the case.

Plus, it's the start of a new series  and for me, that's like getting a present.  The writing is excellent, especially in the way that all of the characters are so well drawn. The only quibble I have with the book is that I knew for certain who the killer was, too early for the suspense to last.  Mostly because if it wasn't X, it could only be Y, so we probably needed more red herrings, more possibilities, to keep us guessing  Even so, it was both the writing and wanting to know what would happen next, to Alice in her peril, that kept me up late last night reading the last 50 pages.

{The first two books in this series - Crossbones Yard and The Killing of Angels - have been published in the U.S.  The third, The Winter Foundlings, is due here in February.  It sounds like they get better and better!}

1 comment:

Fleur Fisher said...

I'm happy to confirm that the series is getting better and better. And by book 3 I had the killer completely wrong, but saw the sense when the truth was revealed.

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