“They Kill Without Mercy. Disappear Without A Trace.” // Review of “The Two” by Will Carver

Title: The Two (January David #2)
Author: Will Carver
Audio Book Narrator: Nicki Paull, Richard Aspel
Genre: Thriller/Crime novel
Date Read: 23/11/2016 – 07/12/2016
Rating: ★★

Review:

The first book in this series, Girl 4, was by no means perfect, but it definitely left me in the mood to continue. Sadly, by the end of this one, I was barely interested in the outcome and just wanted to be done with it.

Picking up some time after the events of Girl 4, Detective January David is dealing with another series of murders. This time each takes place on a Wiccan Sabbat, and the crimes scenes seem to be some strange bastardisation of Wiccan ritual. January tries to understand the new psychic messages he receives before each murder, but he and his team may have been wrong about this murderer all along.

I mentioned in my review of Girl 4 that Carver does interesting things with structure and narrative voice (i.e. present tense narration that has knowledge of future events). This worked in Girl 4, but it did not work here. The multiple points of view led me to believe on thing was happening, to the extent that when events were revisited from different POVs and the truth of the matter revealed, it felt more like an entirely different story than a thriller after the twist.

There was also the issue that January David became even less likeable in this book. I get that he’s a bit curmudgeonly, and that he’s been through a lot, and that turning to alcohol is his way of dealing with things. But he was just annoying in this one. It didn’t help that there was often a lot of repetition in the narration (not just from January’s POV, but several). Yes, I knkow you should do some proper police work instead of relying entirely on your dreams! You said that before! So do it!

There was also the fact that the supernatural element introduced in the first book played a much larger role here. January wasn’t the only one receiving messages from the other side, so to speak. I felt there was a bit too much reliance on the supernatural for what was written far more in the format of a thriller. While Will Carver calls it a supernatural thriller, it didn’t really work as one.


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Book Review: “Girl 4” by Will Carver

Title: Girl 4 (January David #1)
Author: Will Carver
Audio Book Narrator: NIcki Paull, Richard Aspel
Genre: Thriller/Crime novel
Date Read: 17/11/2016 – 21/11/2016
Rating: ★★★★

Review:


This was a really enjoyable thriller, and I enjoyed sinking my teeth into something dark again.

Detective January David is called to a murder scene, the fourth by a serial killer terrorising London, and finds that he recognises the victim, and that she is actually still alive… As the novel progresses, we hear from not only January, his wife, the murderer and the other murder victims as January races to try to prevent the murder of a Girl 5.

This book has a really interesting format. While it is written in first person present tense, it is like the characters are watching a movie of the events and giving commentary. Though they’re narrating as things happen, they also have knowledge of events that yet to come. “Little do I know that the killer is standing  right behind me…”, that sort of thing. The other murder victims are often narrating from beyond the grave, which seemed a bit weird at first, but eventually I settled into the format and it didn’t seem so strange.

None of the characters were particularly likeable, but I still wanted to know exactly what was going on, and how the case would unfold. The story starts in the middle, with the discovery of Girl 4, then goes back to the beginning when Girl 1 was murdered, then comes back and through to several more murder victims. I did find the twist at the end a little bit unbelievable, though there had been some clues to it previously, so it wasn’t completely out of the blue.

There is a small speculative fiction element to the novel in the form of January’s prophetic dreams that warn him that another murder victim will be found within 24 hours. At first it felt a bit out of place in an otherwise straight thriller/detective novel, but it actually worked quite well, and I think this plays more of a part in the later books in the series as well.

Overall, while it took a little while to really settle into this book, I found it quite entertaining in the end and look forward to continuing the series.


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