When an art installation appears in Trafalgar Square, everyone is horrified to discover that the contents of the three glass cases are the preserved bodies of three missing homeless men. Purporting to be the work of an artist known only as @nonymous, the police know they need to act quickly as more gruesome pieces of art are promised very soon. As Detective Inspector Grace Archer and Detective Sergeant Harry Quinn discover the whereabouts of more bodies and the online videos accompanying the deaths, there is a realisation that someone close to them may have something to hide. With Grace being in the killer’s sights, will they be able to apprehend @nonymous before she becomes part of his ultimate art installation?
As soon as I heard about this book, I knew that this would definite be one for me and I was so right! From the off, we are drawn straight into the macabre plot when the bodies of three homeless men are discovered displayed as a piece of public artwork. The shadowy artist has left no trace of who they are, and any clues that the police do find soon lead to dead ends. I love a book that grabs me straight away and The Art of Death definitely did this, holding my attention to the very last page as more bodies are found in the most grisly of circumstances.
I have read many crime books where the internet is involved and The Art of Death serves as a reminder to be careful what we share online. I’m sure most of us have looked at the Facebook accounts of people we are not ‘friends’ with but certainly not for the same reason as our killer! We see our unknown ‘artist’ monitoring the pages of his prospective victims, in some cases befriending them to get the information he requires. We see how easy this is to do and is particularly unnerving when we witness him sitting in the same cafe as the women he is watching, knowing the fate that is about to befall them.
I quickly warmed to Detective Inspector Grace Archer, a woman with a past which I am sure will rear its head in any further books. The whole investigation team, I felt, was very balanced from the affable Detective Sergeant Harry Quinn to the icy DCI Clare Pierce and Klara, the intelligent tech expert. They are all characters I would love to see develop and so I hope that the author is planning a series!
The lead up to the denouement is tense and thrilling, and when we reach the end, we are left with a situation that threatens to remain in Grace’s thoughts and, again, could certainly reappear in future books. (Can you tell that I am hoping for more?!) This is a fantastic debut and one that I hope will be a huge success. Even this early on in the year, I am already convinced that this will be one of my favourites of 2021!
With thanks to Zaffre Books and Tracy Fenton from Compulsive Readers for my ARC and for my spot on the blog tour.