For months, a serial killer dubbed ‘The Thorn Killer’ has terrorized Liverpool, daubing victims with macabre tattoos over most of their body. With no tangible leads, Detective Greg Carver is living and breathing the case… until he is shot in his own home. Finding him in his armchair, the actions of his colleague Ruth Lake are more than suspicious. Instead of calling it in, she removes the gun, carefully wipes down surfaces and takes away Carver’s case notes. The only problem is, Carver isn’t actually dead. Waking in his hospital room, with few memories of what happened that night, his obsession with the case grows. What exactly is Ruth hiding and will it cause more blood to be shed?
Well, this book certainly grabs your attention from the off! It’s not often you read a book where, right from the start, you are incredibly suspicious of the detective in charge but from the moment Ruth Lake tampers with the crime scene, I was not sure whether she was a reliable officer. This mistrust remained for much of the book and, coupled with the unknown reason behind Carver’s shooting, this made for an interesting read where you don’t know if the police can be trusted.
The modus operandi of the killer was a particularly gruesome and painful one and when we actually experience them in action, I found myself wincing as they used thorns to tattoo their latest victim. Several possible candidates are put forward as to who the killer is and I was pleased to spot a clue whilst reading that steered me towards that person. One part in particular resonated with me as, being from the city where it is set, the locations were very familiar. Let’s just say the Fairy Glen in Sefton Park now takes on a whole new meaning!
I liked the complicated relationship that Lake and Carver shared and feel that there is definitely more to be explored if this book becomes a series. There is a definite respect between the two detectives although, in light of the cases they are working on, there was also a lot of apprehension. Both detectives are very tenacious and probably a lot more like each other than they care to realise.
As the book progressed, I found it hard to put down and I whizzed through the second half at a rate of knots. There were numerous twists and turns that held my attention right until the very end. I hope that a second book will follow.
With thanks to Net Galley and Little, Brown Book Group UK for my ARC.