- Perfect Crime (A DI Callanach Thriller #5).
- Helen Fields.
- 400 pages.
- Thriller / Mystery / Crime / Fiction.
- My Rating: Hell Yeah Book Review.
Your darkest moment is your most vulnerable…
Stephen Berry is about to jump off a bridge until a suicide prevention counsellor stops him. A week later, Stephen is dead. Found at the bottom of a cliff, DI Luc Callanach and DCI Ava Turner are drafted in to investigate whether he jumped or whether he was pushed…
As they dig deeper, more would-be suicides roll in: a woman found dead in a bath; a man violently electrocuted. But these are carefully curated deaths – nothing like the impulsive suicide attempts they’ve been made out to be.
Little do Callanach and Turner know how close their perpetrator is as, across Edinburgh, a violent and psychopathic killer gains more confidence with every life he takes…
I only started the DI Callanach series with the previous book, book four, Perfect Silence and I really enjoyed it. Even though I started the series late I was easily able to pick it up (as a standalone/starting point I felt it worked well, likewise, Perfect Crime works well as a starting/point/standalone too as you can enjoy the unfolding investigations on their own merits and even without prior knowledge of them the characters help to draw you in). It was a compelling read that included a gruesome story and in DI Luc Callanach and DCI Ava Turner, it featured a duo of stellar main characters who were ably supported by the rest of the MIT. It was a slice of deliciously decadent darkness and I was only too happy to go back for a second helping with the newly released book five, Perfect Crime which is, again, another slice of decadent darkness by Fields.
Stephen Berry is found dead, it looks like suicide, he has a history of mental illness and a week before he jumped to his death from off the tower at Tantallon Castle he had tried to kill himself by climbing a bridge with the intention of jumping before a counsellor intervened and talked him down. But, something is off about the apparent suicide, it doesn’t feel right, Stephen seemed to be improving after his failed attempt and then, a week later he is dead and the MIT (Major Investigation Team) are unsure whether it is suicide, murder or misadventure. Then, there is a second death, an older woman is found in her bath and it also looks like suicide. At first, the two deaths are thought to be completely unrelated, just two sad tragedies of people who didn’t want to live anymore and then there is another death. This time, a man has been electrocuted and again, on the surface, it looks like another apparent suicide…but it isn’t and there is something far more sinister at play.
There is a ruthless killer haunting, plaguing the streets of Edinburgh, a calculating killer who preys on the vulnerable, a killer who is killing people, murdering them in carefully orchestrated ways to make it look like each of the victims committed suicide.
Along with the investigation into the killings, there is also a secondary investigation running concurrently meaning MIT is split between the two. This second investigation involves DI Callanach who, after delving into his family past, visiting a nursing home to see an old acquaintance of his family unwittingly finds himself part of the investigation as, like a ghost, the past can haunt you.
The characters created by Fields and those who populate her story are detailed, they have depth. The supporting members of MIT as well (Detective Superintendent Overbeck whenever she appears is hilarious and along with DS Lively who is more muted this time around but still has a few cheeky lines spread throughout are both personal favourites of mine) as Callanach and Turner. Both of whom are damaged, tattered, torn and frayed at the edges from life and the events they have had to live through. Simply, they are characters to care about. There’s a closeness to the relationship that has developed between Callanach and Turner, transcending that of people who work together, they are friends, they share a bond and you want to see them get together, to admit what the reader already knows and to take that step from friends to something more. Yes, even me with my blackened and corroded darkened heart wants to see it happen. They tiptoe around their feelings, they dance to avoid looking deeper and it definitely isn’t plain sailing for the pair in Perfect Crime and they have some stormy waters to face.
The story told in Perfect Crime leads down some disturbing roads and includes some sensitive subject matter. The killer (I will say that I did guess who the killer was very early on and it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book at all) preys on those who are vulnerable, those who, in the past, have wanted to give their life away, who have found themselves drowning in the depths of despair, struggling to keep afloat on the turbulent tides of life and ultimately, those who pulled through, who endured, who survived…who had survived until their life was taken not by their own demons but by a pitiless killer. It is a delicate topic to broach, including mental health and particularly suicide in a story in the name of entertainment and I give Fields credit for tackling such a delicate and, sadly still taboo subject. The topic is used to help create what is an unsettling read but it isn’t over sensationalised by her and she handles it in a dignified and respectful manner.
Fields writing flows well, it is addictive, easy to read and compelling in equal measure. She includes a dark humour that suffuses the pages and she doesn’t shy away from describing the gruesome acts of killing either with some very descriptive scenes included. She manages to find the sweet spot, to strike the balance between maintaining and developing the relationships between the characters and the investigations that take place meaning that both old and new readers alike will find Perfect Crime easily accessible with lots to enjoy. Add in a building tension throughout that aids in the addictive qualities of the story as both the investigations build towards their respective climaxes and as the book itself moves towards its conclusion and you have a gripping and unputdownable read on your hands.
Purchase Perfect Crime (A DI Callanach Thriller #5).
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