Detective January David is struggling to move on from the events of Girl 4. Separated from his wife, he is drinking copiously and immersing himself in his mother’s journals, trying to find more clues about his sister’s disappearance. When bodies start turning up, killed in a similar ritualistic manner and months apart, January sets out to stop the murderer.
In doing so he must battle his demons with his detective work suffers from his lack of focus, and this has an important impact on the story. But maybe the apparitions of children who visit him hold the answer to the series of murders. Who is the serial killer? Are there two of them? This isn’t your standard story about a mysterious serial killer terrorising the streets of London. Carver delivers a great twist within the genre by introducing a supernatural element through January’s visions.
The character of January David is investigated further in this follow-up to Girl 4. Now he seems a broken man. Side characters such as Paulson, the fellow detective who is closest to January and aides him through the investigation, are well rounded and always integral.
Carver has an ability to instantly hook a reader. The Two seems to open mid-story but you won’t feel worried that you’ve missed something. He then uses a confusing timeline to reveal aspects of the story as you read, building suspense along the way. The greatest aspect of The Two however, is the multiple narratives, all in first person, which run throughout. Short chapters, switching between the detective, murder victims, and killers, really add something to the story. Each one has a different voice, allowing the reader to really immerse themselves into the story and unravel the mystery.
Girl 4 was a fantastic debut, one I really enjoyed reading on its release last year. So, as is always the case with a second novel, or film for that matter, I began reading with slight trepidation that The Two wouldn’t measure up when compared to its predecessor.
I needn’t have worried. Full of twists and turns, and one of the best reveals of a serial killer I’ve read in a long time, The Two is a must-read for any crime fiction fan looking for something a little different. Excellently written, with a breathtaking pace, it cements Will Carver as one of the most exciting new names in this genre today.
CFL Rating: 5 Stars
Click here to read an interview with Will Carver on the Guilty Conscience blog.