Written by Luke Delaney — Say hello to DI Sean Corrigan, latest recruit to the psychological police procedural fold – you’ll be hearing more from him in the future. Corrigan is the creation of debut author Luke Delaney, an ex-London Metropolitan Police detective who certainly has the inside track on how an investigation works. Not for him the quick ‘wham, bam, solved it ma’am’ of some crime novels, this author is determined to tell it like it is, warts and all. So be prepared for dead ends, legal frustrations, and illegal evidence planting in a well-plotted, fast-moving portrait of modern-day police work, set in the urban sprawl of England’s capital city.
Central to it all is Corrigan, a detective whose unique selling point is the fact he was abused as a child, and who uses those past experiences to get inside the heads of killers, rapists and arsonists. It’s a fine line between catching the criminals and empathising with them, but Corrigan is man enough to handle it, and he is surrounded by a team who know how best to handle him. Mind you, they have their work cut out when Corrigan begins an investigation into an apparent domestic that ended in murder.
The victim is a gay man who lived alone and there is no sign of a forced entry to his flat, but his badly mutilated body sets alarm bells ringing for Corrigan, who senses that this was much more than a lovers’ tiff gone badly wrong. He is soon on the trail of a serial killer like no other he has ever encountered – a cold-blooded murderer who displays no pattern, no motive, and very little in the way of humanity.
Tortured past or no, Sean Corrigan is a likeable character who provides a perfect foil to James Hellier, a nasty piece of work who keeps popping into the frame for the crimes. But Hellier is a successful financier, rich, well-connected, with a devoted wife and family. Could he really be the man Corrigan is seeking?
The story races along, the minutiae of police work interspersed with chilling chapters told from the viewpoint of the faceless killer – a balance which works very well. I also loved the detailing on the day-to-day running of a major investigation. My quibble is with Corrigan himself. Would such a damaged man really become a police officer, and rise so far through the ranks? Some of his internalising seemed a touch overdone and his deductions at times smacked more of Sherlock Holmes than a 21st century police officer.
Having said that, I’m glad I’ll be meeting him again – adding the opening chapter of book two, entitled The Keeper, to the end of this novel was something of a giveaway. I’d like to learn about the family man – Corrigan is married to an A&E doctor and has two young children – and something more about his team members, DS Sally Jones in particular. Plus, there are some tantalising loose ends that need tying off too.
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CFL Rating: 3 Stars