The year is 1986 and, after receiving a series of threatening letters, a newspaper editor is brutally slaughtered. With little to go on, the police are baffled; their only clue being a rose left near the scene of the crime. The first murder is followed up by a series of equally macabre killings, the carefully placed rose, again, being a clue that the slayings are all linked. Alan Winters, a young Scotland Yard detective, is tasked with finding the murdererer but with Jennifer Chapman, the daughter of the first victim intent on launching her own investigation, will he find the killer before he finds them?

Initially, despite its shocking introduction, I found this book hard to get into as I found it difficult to like any of the main characters. After the second killing, however, I felt that the book took a major turn for the better and the characters began to seem more real and likeable. Setting the book in 1986 was a great idea as whereas nowadays there would be a reliance on forensics and the use of computer databases, the Scotland Yard detectives had to use traditional police legwork to make connections.

As is found in many books of this genre, the story is interspersed with chapters written by the killer, this time in the form of a diary. What is different, however, is that Kevin Murray manages to write the killer’s story in a way that makes you feel empathy towards him – a stark contrast to the feelings you have about him whilst he’s on his killing spree!

Without giving too much away, it becomes obvious where the killer is going to be found but the author succeeds in not making it too easy to discover exactly who it is. The ending tears away at breakneck speed as the guilty party prepares for their final showdown. The slight twist at the end was another clever touch.

This book was received from Urbane Productions and Net Galley in return for an honest review.

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