The Shadow Of The Soul – Sarah Pinborough

The Shadow Of The Soul
The Dog-Faced Gods Book Two
By: Sarah Pinborough
Pub: Gollancz
390 Pages

The Shadow Of The Soul continues from A Matter Of Blood in fine form.

The book continues the story Of DI Cass Jones, who finds himself further entangled with the Network, and the plans of Mr Bright, and becomes further entrenched in the conspiracies that were beginning to be revealed in the first book.

Cass is involved in two investigations, even as he continues to deal with the fallout of his actions from the first book. London is experiencing a spate of student suicides, with very little obviously linking the deaths, aside from a growing urban legend around the phrase “Chaos in the Darkness”. There’s also been an attempted gangland hit, where a botched drive by lead to the death of an innocent school boy caught in the crossfire.

Outside his professional work Cass’ private life centres around the final note left by his dead brother, Christian. It appears that the Network’s plans for Cass and his family run to deeper and darker extremes than previously suspected, as it is revealed that they replaced Christian’s son Luke at birth. Cass resorts to whatever means needed to find the truth, and his missing nephew.

The book also introduces a second main character into recession wracked London of the Dog Faced Gods world. Abigail Porter is bodyguard to the PM, who finds herself victim of strange visitations and is one of the few witnesses to a terrorist bombing that defies all conventional explanation.

The pragmatic and hard nosed Cass works as a strong main character, still riddled with faults and quirks, and rooted firmly in the collapsing London. Abi provides something different for the book, and the altered perspective in refreshing.

The Shadow Of The Soul maintains the pace of the first book, combining its supernatural and horror overtones with the underlining skeleton of a crime novel to good effect. The various plotlines reach satisfying conclusions, as some begin to merge, are resolved, or are left tantalisingly hanging for the next book. The book also avoids feeling like the awkward filling of a trilogy, because of this, giving the reader closure on some topics, while leaving much still running. Certainly the third book will be one to watch out for.

Review | The Killing of Emma Gross by Damien Seaman

The Killing of Emma Gross
by Damien Seaman
Pub: Blasted Heath

It’s Dusseldorf and Peter Kurten is about to give himself up to Thomas Klein. He claims he is the serial killer known as the Ripper. Thomas has several problems, the largest of which may be Ritter, a superior officer with a personal grudge against Klein and the whose case this is supposed to be. He needs to know if Kurten really is the Ripper, what happened to the last little girl he took and what it is about Emma Gross that doesn’t quite fit.

I can sum this one up pretty quickly. It’s grubby and rough. In more detail, Seaman captures the grey drudgery of a city in depression along with the violence and corruption of the age and the police. The use of occasional but consistent German along with his feel for the country holds the reader in place and the characters are, frankly, all thoroughly unlike-able, but none the less compelling and it is possible to empathise even while appalled by the choices they make. By the end of the novel I found myself even sympathising with Tom and feeling his frustration.

The prologue kicks the whole book off with a short sharp shock and then the first chapter throws you right into to a novel that is a well written, rapidly paced, gripping procedural. The book doesn’t really revolve around the Ripper, like all the best procedural’s it’s about the detective, Klein and in this case very much about Ritter too and of course, the killing of Emma Gross.

I expect to hear a great deal more from this author, partly because he has a series of articles running here on unbound over the next couple of months, but also because it really is an excellent and deliciously dark crime novel. Seriously though, grubby and rough.

Review | Death in Little Venice by Leo McNeir

Death in little Venice by Leo McNeir

The book is set in London’s Little Venice and on the canal system in Northamptonshire with a lot of information on Politicians and the workings of the Government .included in the plot
His description of the Houses of Parliament and the way they (the politicians, researchers ,Police etc (Corridors of Power)manage to work in the building was brilliant and I too had felt very privileged when I went there and was given a guided tour by my MP’s PPs. I was told it took them nearly 4 months to find their way round the buildings.

The story is brilliantly structured and we are kept in suspense for most of the book with accidents happening thick and fast to our heroine Marnie Walker. Who works as an interior designer with the help of an apprentice by the name of “Anne with an “e” “

The description of the heating put into her old MG TA by the garage was a brilliant touch , they “had produced something based on thermo-hydraulic principles rather like the system used on the new Mercedes SLK range of supercharged two-seaters “it turned out to be a hot water bottle , but what a fantastic description.
It is a mystery book I can recommend to anyone ,but for those who enjoy the canals and are interested in their history then it is a must as Mr McNeir has obviously done his research into the history of them and finds it possible to tell you a lot as the story progresses.
The book is published by Enigma Publishing and the print is so very clear and easy to read I only wish some of the other publishers would copy it. For those of us whose eyesight is not as good as we would like , this too is very important in our enjoyment of a book . Full marks to Enigma.