Wednesday, 20 February 2013

"Torn," by Casey Hill

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Stuff and Nonsense by Amy Cockram is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.

I haven't written much on my blog this year so far.  I have a few reasons: a writing funk; other stuff going on in my life, and - my main reason - I decided at the start of this year to re-read Phil Rickman's Merrily Watkins series.  I'm nearing half way through the series but, as I don't tend to write about re-reads as it feels like treading old ground, I haven't written a review of any.  Also, when I read a series consecutively I don't think it would make interesting blogging if I write about each book one at a time so that you get a series of very similar reviews in a row.  I do love the series though, so I might write a review at the end of the series as a whole (although you can read my review of the last in the series, "The Secrets of Pain," here).

I did take a brief break from my re-reading to dip into my review pile again.  This time I came up with "Torn," by Casey Hill (which I gather is the pseudonym of a husband and wife writing collaboration), which was kindly sent me for review a while ago by Simon and Schuster.  This is a forensic thriller in the mould of Patricia Cornwell or Kathy Reichs.  It is the second in a series featuring Reilly Steel - an American forensic investigator working in Ireland - and Chris Delaney, a young policeman partnered with a portly older colleague, Pete Kennedy.  In this novel, they are called out to investigate the very grim murder of a controversial journalist who has been left to drown in his own septic tank.  They soon come to realise that this is one of a number of outlandish, gruesomely imaginative murders and that there is a fiendish serial killer at work.

I initially found it hard to get into this book.  I think that was partly because I hadn't read the first in the series - which is unusual for me, as I am normally a bit anal about reading series in order - and found that I was a bit alienated by frustrating veiled hints of past traumas for both Reilly and Delaney.  So, I read a few pages and then left their world to spend a bit more time with Merrily.  But then, two days ago, I picked it up again and found myself unexpectedly gripped by the story and wanting to reach the denouement.  Casey Hill uses a literary template for the murders which is a gift to crime writers (and has been used by others such as Matthew Pearl), and this gives an added layer of interest to the narrative for a book geek like me.

This is a good, solid forensic thriller which was an entertaining diversion for a couple of days from my Merrily marathon. I'll be adding this to the book swap shelf at work in case any of my colleagues also fancy reading it.