Over the past few years, Carol Wyer has made quite a name for herself as an author of crime fiction series. First came DI Robyn Carter, followed by DI Natalie Ward. Now let’s welcome a third member to the group, DI Kate Young.
As An Eye for an Eye opens, Young is on extended leave from her job. Through flashbacks, we learn she witnessed something horrific that happened on a train. Something that involved a man with a gun and passengers getting killed. It’s fragmented and vague and it’ll be a while before readers can begin to piece together what occurred that day but suffice to say it haunts this character, constantly.
Young relies heavily on her husband, Chris, who is always there to talk her down when she wakes from recurring nightmares or suffers yet another flashback, which can be triggered by the most unassuming of situations. She is in a bad place mentally, so when the call comes for her to return to the coal face she understandably refuses. But there has been a murder and the victim is a high-profile businessman. Her boss, Supt Dickson, wants the case kept under wraps for as long as possible – and he is insistent that Young heads up a small team to investigate.
She’s made her reputation as Staffordshire police’s best detective, but can this shell of DI Kate Young really cut the mustard this time? There’s only one way to find out, and against her better judgement she agrees. Colleagues are shocked to see her back at work, and Young is soon regretting her decision. But she hand-picks DS Morgan Meredith and DS Emma Donaldson as team members and soon the trio is trying its best to work out who killed Alex Corby, and why. Also how – because this killer has a very unusual way of offing their victims, involving an innocuous piece of fruit and a piece of equipment that’ll have you running to Google to find out more.
And yes, I did say victims – because Corby isn’t the only person to suffer at the hands of this shadowy murderer. Soon there is victim number two, and connections are pointing the investigation to someone Young knows well. She was already a woman teetering dangerously close to the edge; the pressures of this case, the lack of hard evidence and the fact that Young is being watched closely by her bosses may well conspire to send her free falling into the abyss.
This book is a step forward for Carol Wyer, whose writing seems to get better and better. It is a tale with a much harder edge, and it contains some really dark moments. As ever, her characterisation is spot on, with the tormented, broken figure of Kate Young at the eye of the maelstrom. She is a complex creation and may well surprise you before this book is over.
The first book in a new series is always a tough one to get absolutely right – we readers need back story and context, and Wyer gives them to us in spades. The flashbacks are hugely illuminating, but I began to tire of them after a while and just wanted to get on with the developing investigation. I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with the central character, but by the end of An Eye for an Eye I was beginning to warm to her and I’m looking forward to meeting her again. This book is a solid springboard for what’s to come and I have the feeling that DI Kate Young is going to keep us on our toes.
Thomas & Mercer
CFL Rating: 4 Stars