Thursday 20 February 2014

Review - Talking to the dead by Harry Bingham

Talking to the DeadTalking to the Dead by Harry Bingham
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 9 days

Publisher - Orion

Pages - 384

Blurb from Goodreads

The first novel in a powerfully original new crime series featuring a young policewoman haunted by her own dark past.

It's DC Fiona Griffiths' first murder case - and she's in at the deep end. A woman and her six-year-old daughter killed with chilling brutality in a dingy flat. The only clue: the platinum bank card of a long-dead tycoon, found amidst the squalor.

DC Griffiths has already proved herself dedicated to the job, but there's another side to her she is less keen to reveal. Something to do with a mysterious two-year gap in her CV, her strange inability to cry - and a disconcerting familiarity with corpses.

Fiona is desperate to put the past behind her but as more gruesome killings follow, the case leads her inexorably back into those dark places in her own mind where another dead girl is waiting to be found..

My Review

This is the first book in what I assume will be a series, if it isn't already, and this is our introduction to DC Fiona Griffiths. A young girl and her mother have been murdered, the young girl brutally so with a credit card found at the scene of a millionaire who previously died in a car crash. This is Fiona's first case and she is determined to unearth the killer. The case has lots of dangerous links and skulduggery which Fiona will go to any length to uncover, including putting herself in great danger.

Fiona is a complex character, there is a 2 year gap from her life and CV that she won't talk about. She is a quirky character who is at ease more around corpses than she is living people. At first I felt the book was hinting that she was in some way able to talk to the dead due to some of the things she says and does however, sadly that is not the case. It is more linked to this mysterious two year gap and it takes forever, I felt, for us to get it that.

She is a loose canon to be honest her behavior, for the most part, is dangerous and chaotic. The story is mostly about Fiona, her issues with people, her past and the case I felt, took a back seat to it all. When the murder inquiry is the topic in the book, it is long drawn out, very procedural and almost boring for large parts. I don't think the story is badly written, on the contrary and when you finally discover what Fiona is hiding, a lot of her behavior makes sense, although still a tad weird.

I have to mention the cover, I am not normally one to comment on them but this is what drew me to the book, the inlay is a vibrant shade of green as is the writing and it is cut to emphasize this. I honestly don't think this series is for me, unless now we have the back story the future books will be more focused on the case. When the investigation comes to a head, it did pick up in pace but by that point I was 9 days in and just happy for it to finish and get find out what Fiona was hiding more than who was the killer to be honest.

This is my first dance with this author and whilst I won't be rushing to buy his next I wouldn't rule out reading him again. I must also point out that lots of people loved this book, it isn't a gore fest, it is centrally focused on the main character and building her up which people do love so give it a chance. For me though, it is a 2/5 this time.

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  1. Thank you for your honest review. I always appreciate that. It sounds like something that takes time to get into.

  2. Nice review, very well written :)

  3. Great commentary on this book.

    The fact that the main character displays complexity and mystery is appealing. On the other hand I can see how a book like this could be marred by too much procedural stuff.

  4. A great and very mixed review. On the one hand there are several things that intrigue me about the book (mainly that platinum credit card) but I suspect there might not be enough to keep my attention for long.

  5. Thanks for the honest review, and I like the cover as well. When the plot begins to draw out, I get bored easily though.


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