Note: This book is part of the Christchurch Mysteries series but it works just fine as a stand alone. It does reference the main character in the Theodore Tate mysteries in a few small ways and chronologically, happens after Book 1 (Cemetery Lake).
Edward Hunter lost his father when he was 9 years old. The man was a serial killer and he was finally caught and imprisoned. Edward has tried very hard to forget him ever since and be his own person. Now, decades later he has a wife (Jody) and a young daughter (Sam) and a successful job (as an accountant). But a bank robbery turned bloody will bring cruel violence back into Edward’s life, affecting those he loves the most. Once again, the ugly question of whether or not Edward is like his father will be raised.
I’m totally going to love on this book. I really enjoyed it, even more so than Cemetery Lake. Set in modern day Christchurch, New Zealand, Edward is a very interesting character and we get to see him during his worst hours. I really felt for the guy. First he has this horrible family history that’s full of tragedy. Then he has is own little demon to contend with, one he thought he had beaten down many years ago. Finally, he has the worst week of his life during the length of this book. He goes through quite the range of emotions.
The author pulls in characters from the Theodore Tate novels, specifically Detective Schroeder. He’s cynical and sharp and married to doing the right thing (and doing it by the books as much as possible). In fact, the book opens with him and his guys looking into the death of a man in a trench coat and large suction cups. Yeah, I giggled too. Schroeder is quickly pulled off this case to attend to a bank robbery, the same one that Edward is caught in the middle of.
After the robbery is all said and done, Edward feels he must find the bandits. His father, who is still in prison, gives him a call and asks him to visit. That really starts the slippery slope for Edward. What follows is a mix of righteous payback, a struggle against Edward’s baser desires, and Edward coming to terms with who he is (including his relationship with his father). Be prepared for a respectable body count on this one.
Some animals suffer in this book. The author provides one clear, detailed example and then alludes to the others without giving specifics. These episodes are used sparingly and definitely add to the character’s dimension; these scenes aren’t here merely to up the horror level of the book.
The story held my attention all the way through and I finished it in three days. The novel brings up questions of inner evil and what constitutes free will versus a mental illness. The main characters are well done. There’s some interesting twists that kept me guessing as to where the author would take the story.
I won a copy of this book from The Audio Book Reviewer) with no strings attached.
Narration: Paul Ansdell was a great voice for both Detective Schroeder and Edward Hunter. I liked his slightly gravelly voice for the older, jaded Schroeder. He did a great job of portraying Edward’s many emotions throughout the novel. His female voices were believable. I wonder, as I did with Cemetery Lake, why no New Zealand accents? Perhaps this was the publisher’s direction, but I don’t really know.