*I received a free copy of this book with thanks to the author and Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources blog tours. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: Whitechapel is being gentrified. The many green spaces of the area, which typify London as a capital city, give the illusion of peace, tranquility and clean air but are also places to find drug dealers, sexual encounters and murder.
Detective Sergeant Julie Lukula doesn’t dislike Inspector Matthew Merry but he has hardly set the world of the Murder Investigation Team East alight. And, it looks as if the inspector is already putting the death of the young female jogger, found in the park with her head bashed in, down to a mugging gone wrong. The victim deserves more. However, the inspector isn’t ruling anything out – the evidence will, eventually, lead him to an answer.
The Fourth Victim is a police procedural mystery with a twist.
DI Merry and DS Lukula and the team are investigating the murder of a young woman, which puts them on the trail of a bigger mystery and leads them into making some questionable (and even illegal!) decisions in the name of following a lead. We get quite a lot of insight into Merry and Lukula’s private lives, which felt a bit gratuituous at times but proved relevant at others, and I found the insight into the moral values inherent in the professional and personal lives both fascinating and disturbing.
I was totally hooked on the plot and the exploration of an unusual mental health issue involved. It was obvious that the author had researched the condition thoroughly and the resulting plot elements were mesmerising! This element was by far my favourite aspect of the novel and had me guessing right up to the end.
Also interesting was the insider view into the workings of a police investigation and the workings of budget, manpower and allocation of research involved. Again, the author’s knowledge, research and experience shine through here, although I do hope that some of Merry and Lukula’s shenanigans are not commonplace in real life!
This was a gripping crime read and I would recommend it to any fans of police procedural thrillers.
‘Did you see the new detective show on the TV?’ Merry asked, breaking the silence on the short car ride to the Turner’s flat. ‘The lead detective has flashbacks, resulting from the murder of his wife and son by an unknown killer, so he can now talk to the recently departed who help him solve his cases.’
‘Is he an alcoholic and, or a drug user?’ Lukula asked, knowing how common such detectives were on TV, their angst fuelled lives driving them to be the ‘number one’ detective.
‘No he’s a DCI but his sergeant, who seems to spend a lot of time changing in and out of her clothes in front of him and has great boobs, is a black lesbian,’ Merry informed her, checking his watch and regretting his interrupted sleep, ‘so I feel a certain affinity with him.’
‘Sod off,’ Lukula laughed, ‘I’m not an exhibitionist and you are not a DCI, not yet anyway.’
– John Mead, The Fourth Victim
The Fourth Victim is available on Amazon right now!
You can find my thoughts on another John Mead crime novel, The Hanging Women, here, and make sure you check out the other stops on the blog tour (see below poster for details) for more great reviews and content!