It’s winter in Liverpool and the city is shocked when a woman is brutally attacked and murdered in the grounds of the world-renowned Anglican Cathedral. The victim, a local school teacher, seems to have led a perfect life… too perfect? This is the question DS Nathan Cody asks himself as he tries to unravel the motive behind what seems to be a completely unprovoked attack. Cody is also battling his own demons as an event from his past, once again, rears its ugly head, threatening his sanity. When the killer strikes again, the detective must try to hold it all together before more victims are found.
I was very late to the ‘Nathan Cody’ party, having only discovered David Jackson’s previous book, A Tapping at My Door, as a result of seeing so many bloggers rave about it. I, therefore, count myself lucky that I have not had to wait too long to read the sequel! Set, once again, in Liverpool, the author has used a mixture of real and fictional locations to create an atmospheric backdrop to a story about cold-blooded murder, childhood abuse and voyeurism. One location in particular, the entrance to St. James Cemetery (in the grounds of the Anglican Cathedral) evoked strong feelings for me personally, as I have passed through the tunnel on several occasions and each time have felt a feeling of uneasiness. After reading Hope to Die, those feelings will definitely be heightened! The title of the book is also very clever, Hope Street being the thoroughfare linking the two Liverpool cathedrals.
Hope to Die follows on from the previous book but it is not essential to have read it. It does, however, provide relevant information about the reason DC Webley is returning to work after a prolonged absence and also details the circumstances behind the PTSD that Cody is apparently suffering from. In this book, we see Cody becoming more and more on edge as events from earlier in his career come back to haunt him. These scenes are extremely well-written and, annoyingly, the author has left this particular story line hanging – ready to be picked up in the third book hopefully?! Without giving too much away, anyone with a clown phobia will be checking that their doors and windows are locked after reading this!
One of the things I really enjoyed about this book was that although we are dealing with a depraved killer, the author really has you sympathising with his plight as we discover his horrific upbringing. These interspersed chapters, written from the perspective of the killer as a young child, were incredibly emotional and, more than anything, I was willing someone to rescue him from his living nightmare. This was completely at odds with the rest of the book, where I hoped Cody would end his killing spree as quickly as possible!
Hope to Die is a well-written, action-packed book that you will not want to put down. A must read!
With thanks to Bonnier Zaffre and Net Galley for the ARC.
(Why not take a look at the piece I wrote about the setting of A Tapping at My Door, hosted on cleopatralovesbooks.wordpress.com)