Monday, February 17, 2014
DEAD END: A DETECTIVE GERALDINE STEEL MYSTERY, Leigh Russell
Dead End is an eBook that scared me out of my skin. First, we meet Abigail Kirby, a headmistress at Harchester School in Kent. She is drifting in and out of consciousness, doesn't know where she is or what's happening, but you know she isn't long for this world.
Then we abruptly switch to a pleasant scene of a father trying to teach his son how to fly a kite in a park. The boy isn't really getting it yet when the kite goes down in a patch of woods, so the father runs in to retrieve it. He finds a body covered in blood and, running back to his son, he calls the police. Detective Geraldine Steel gets the call to investigate.
This is a psychological mystery. It's strange that I can deal with all kinds of killers and types of murders, but I have a problem with someone who is killing as part of an insane mission that only makes sense to the killer. In this story I figured out early on who this crazy killer was, but that only made it more frightening as I knew who the killer planned to kill next and why. Steel herself is in danger as well and while she's a clever detective, she doesn't have a clue about the threat to her own life. It's one of those "no, don't go in there" stories.
A lot of the story revolves around the family of the first victim. This is dysfunctional family 101, with a girl teenager who hates everyone. I know teens can be a pain but this girl has it down to an art. Dad has a girlfriend he spends as much time with as he can, and little brother doesn't care as long as he gets plenty to eat.
Meanwhile, Steel's mother has recently died and only then did she learn that she was adopted. Her sister has given Steel a box with documents and photographs to prove it. Now I understand that it would be jarring, especially at a time of grief, to discover you're adopted but after all, Steel is a grown woman, an intelligent detective, and I simply couldn't feel all that sorry for her. She had been raised in a loving family and had a good life, but she is desolate, wondering why her mother rejected her. It's the attitude you might expect of a teenager but not, surely, from a 33-year-old police officer. She has put in for a transfer to London where she can lose herself in her work and the anonymity of a big city.
Alternately biting my fingernails and throwing my hands up in despair, I read this one quickly. It is a good story after all, and it keeps you turning pages because you just have to find out how the cops catch this crazy person, and several red herrings muddy the waters before you're certain.
Recommended for a quick winter read on a snowy night
Source: Partners in Crime Book Tours