This is the story of recently promoted Detective Inspector Jo Birmingham one of the few to be found in Dublin. She is a single mum, desperate to try to balance her work and her children all the while trying to find a serial killer.
Jo Birmingham needs to be taken seriously in a male dominated world, a world where she is looking to move ahead but seems to stumble at every turn not because of her incompetency or her manner but by her male boss. Who just happens to be her ex-husband. Trying to solve these multiple murders and catch the killer is even more important now.
Birmingham knows what the link is to these bodies, religion and vengeance although this theory appeared to be plucked out of the air and everyone ran with it no questions. We are taken into a world of gang warfare, drugs, prostitutes and religion. For me I felt there were elements of a Dan Brown novel trying to come through but influenced by recent crimes and this was confusing. Even now I am not sure where it all fits in. The parable from the Book of Exodus; a life for a life, an eye for an eye, etc. Is the basis of the murderer’s crimes? So where does the Garda fit in, in solving this and do the press know more than they are letting on? As the net closes in, and people are brought to task about involvement in matters that do not concern them, has Birmingham left it too late?
I cannot deny this book was a page turner and was gripping, though I did not find it terrifying as pitched on the front of the book. I could sleep quite soundly after having read it. There were some graphic parts but necessary ones they were there to give strength to the crimes that had been committed. Jo Birmingham was a strong character and her will and determination to succeed was everything even when she has obviously failed at their marriage she had to show her husband she could succeed at something. He knows this but ego and circumstances get in the way. There is very little about her personal life, we see the domestic side, but not too much that it takes away from the focus of the story which was a serial killer and their capture. Everything is wrapped up in the end but there is plenty of scope for more from Birmingham and I am her ex husband will prove to be her nemesis.
I would not actively go out and buy another of Niamh O’Connor’s novels but I would not turn my nose up at reading another one if one happened to come my way.
This was the second book I have read in the Great Transworld Crime Caper Challenge.
I think I could have waxed lyrical more about this book but this would have taken me down various paths and not captured the book, which is what I try to do in a review. Hopefully doing it justice. My main lyrical wax is the cover. I think it is awful. There I have said it. I admit I would never have picked up this book in a shop. A shame because it was fundamentally a good debut novel which no doubt will be built on in subsequent books. The cover does nothing to hint of the book which is inside, a blond women in leathers in the foreground with a city blurred into lights behind her. I am also unsure of the title, that again does nothing for the reader or for me at least.
Now I chose this book so I must have had a reason because based on what I have written I would not have chosen this books? I think this is a good example of ‘never judge a book by its cover’! But we do and I do and I think having seen the list of books that I could read for this challenge and reading the blurbs about them, it was the blurb that spoke to me. But if I had seen this book I would never have turned it over and read the blurb. Picking a book is a tricky business.