- Perfect Silence (DI Callanach #4).
- Helen Fields.
- 432 pages.
- Crime / Thriller / Mystery / Fiction.
- My Rating: Hell Yeah Book Review.
When silence falls, who will hear their cries?
The body of a young girl is found dumped on the roadside on the outskirts of Edinburgh. When pathologists examine the remains, they make a gruesome discovery: the silhouette of a doll carved in the victim’s skin.
DCI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach are struggling to find leads in the case, until a doll made of skin is found nestled beside an abandoned baby.
After another young woman is found butchered, Luc and Ava realise the babydoll killer is playing a horrifying game. And it’s only a matter of time before he strikes again. Can they stop another victim from being silenced forever – or is it already too late?
“Skin scraped stone. Gravel lodged in raw flesh. Still Zoey crawled.
Death was a ghoul in the dark, creeping up behind her one rasping footstep after another. Soon its freezing fingers would land on her shoulder. Then she would stop, but not until there was no blood left inside her.”
Now that dear reader is a chilling snippet of the opening page that set my darkened heart and love of the gruesome ablaze!
On an isolated road, a body of a young woman is discovered. It is a grisly death and upon inspection of the body, it is found that the shape of a doll has been carved out of her skin on both her front and her back.
There are no breakthroughs with the killing and the MIT are struggling to uncover any firm leads to follow when another young woman is reported as missing. Whilst investigating this latest disappearance the team find the doll that has been made from the human skin (nice). With this grisly development, any hope that the original death was a singular occurrence goes flying out of the window as it becomes apparent that a serial killer is on the loose. Dubbed the ‘babydoll killer‘ by the press it’s up to the MIT to catch them before they kill again.
At the same time, there is another investigation running alongside that of the babydoll killer. Recent attacks on the homeless population of Edinburgh, namely the drug addicts have left the victims horrifically maimed.
There are a few references to events from previous books in the series and, of course, the characters have been developing and forming relationships with each other since the beginning too. However, this didn’t hinder my enjoyment at all and I was easily able to pick up Perfect Silence and get stuck in. Finding that I was immediately drawn to the two flawed but strong main characters of DCI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach. There was some focus on the personal lives of the characters and developments but it never got in the way of the attacks on the homeless, the killings, the investigations and the hunt for the babydoll killer which are all at the forefront of Perfect Silence.
As someone coming late to the series (yes, it’s a cardinal sin and yes, it’s my own fault) I felt that Perfect Silence was accessible to new readers like myself and also that Fields got the balance right between developing the characters and telling the story.
Turner and Callanach are ably abetted by a few secondary characters. Most of whom form the MIT and then there’s also Natasha, a friend of Ava’s who works at a university. Both Turner and Callanach are well developed and fully-fleshed characters who come across as real and the secondary characters also have a decent level of development too. None of the characters simply take up meaningless space on a page. All are part of the team and all of them have a role to play in the story that Fields is telling. I liked both Turner and Callanach and found them to be a great duo. Readers who have read the series may well have a favourite out of the two. Personally, I didn’t and I found the pair to be equally engaging.
Out of the secondary characters I really liked DS Lively, he’s a cheeky chappy who adds a touch of cheekiness and humour to the darkness. Likewise, I couldn’t help but smile every time the harpy inspired Detective Superintendent Overbeck (the head of the MIT) appeared and mouthed off in blunt, course and straight to the point fashion.
Throughout Perfect Silence, there are a few chapters that are told from the victims perspective. These add to the overall story, allowing you to witness first-hand the dire situation that the victim is in, their thoughts and how they handle, react and respond to the ordeal. Helping build a picture of the isolated horror that the victim is going through.
When a serial killer is involved you know that things aren’t going to end well for the victims until you get near to the end of a book and then it could go either way. Either the last victim is rescued in the nick of time or the killer gets one final kill in before being brought to justice. When reading chapters that focus on the victims and their plight you are getting a snapshot and a look into their final (probable) days and hours and it really makes you feel for them.
The chapters from the victims perspective also serve to highlight the serial killer. Revealing the twisted motivations (which are both well incorporated into the storyline and suitably warped) behind how they choose their victims and the sinister means of torture and the premeditated death that they inflict upon them too.
The streets of Edinburgh are the setting of Perfect Silence and they come alive in the hands of Fields. Her writing is addictive, tightly plotted, permeated with dark themes, fast-paced and full of macabre twists and turns as the book builds to its thrilling finale.
I was lucky enough to find a copy of Perfect Silence on the charity bookcase at work and intrigued by the blurb I decided to give it a go. Oh boy, am I glad I did as I found myself a right little gruesome gem and I loved it! Fields has created a series that I will definitely continue with and when time allows, catch-up on too.📚
Perfect Silence is a fantastically dark and thoroughly gripping read.
Purchase Perfect Silence.
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