Today I bring you a book that didn’t rock the world for me, but you might find it more to your taste (I think I should stop reading thrillers with plots that are too closely related to my previous professional life).
Nine Elms (Kate Marshall Book 1) by Robert Bryndza
From the breakthrough international bestselling author of The Girl in the Ice, a breathtaking, page-turning novel about a disgraced female detective’s fight for redemption. And survival…
Kate Marshall was a promising young police detective when she caught the notorious Nine Elms serial killer. But her greatest victory suddenly turned into a nightmare. Traumatized, betrayed, and publicly vilified for the shocking circumstances surrounding the cannibal murder case, Kate could only watch as her career ended in scandal.
Fifteen years after those catastrophic events, Kate is still haunted by the unquiet ghosts of her troubled past. Now a lecturer at a small coastal English university, she finally has a chance to face them. A copycat killer has taken up the Nine Elms mantle, continuing the ghastly work of his idol.
Enlisting her brilliant research assistant, Tristan Harper, Kate draws on her prodigious and long-neglected skills as an investigator to catch a new monster. Success promises redemption, but there’s much more on the line: Kate was the original killer’s intended fifth victim…and his successor means to finish the job.
“[A] heart-pounding series launch.” —Publishers Weekly
“Nine Elms is a taut thriller that sweeps up the reader into the world of Kate Marshall. Kate is a thoroughly realized character with troubles and virtues who will have you rooting for her through to the nail-biting end.” —Authorlink
“A taunt thriller that will keep readers guessing, this is a powerful start to a new series.” —The Parkersburg News and Sentinel
“Robert Bryndza’s characters are so vividly drawn—even the slightest character—and fully human and uniquely imperfect. His plots are clever and original and cool and his sense of timing is excruciatingly flawless. Nine Elms is Robert Bryndza spreading his already formidable wings to thrilling effect.” —Augusten Burroughs, New York Times bestselling author of Running with Scissors
“So chilling, with truly terrifying characters and a hard-hitting storyline that is gripping from start to finish. I will wait with bated breath for the next Kate Marshall thriller.” —Rachel Abbott, Amazon Charts bestselling author
“Bryndza is my type of author and Nine Elms is my type of book. Twisty, dark, and layered with a protagonist you root for from page one, this is a superb start to what promises to be another stand out series.” —M. W. Craven, author of The Puppet Show
About the author:
Robert Bryndza is the author of the international #1 bestselling Detective Erika Foster series. Robert’s books have sold over 3 million copies and have been translated into 29 languages. He is British and lives in Slovakia.
I thank NetGalley and Little, Brown Book Group UK for providing me an ARC copy of this novel, which I freely chose to review. This has in no way influenced my review.
I’ll try to be brief and provide information that might help others decide if this is a book they’d like to read. On the whole, I had far too many issues with the book to enjoy it as others have, but I am a regular reader of thrillers and have fist-hand knowledge of many of the issues central to the plot (I have worked as a forensic psychiatrist in the UK, where the story is set, and I have experience of working in a high secure hospital, so I’m more familiar with their security procedures than most readers will be), so I understand that my reading experience is likely to be very different to that of others. (And I won’t mention what my issues were not to derail others’ reading experience).
I had never read any of this author’s books before, and it is evident that he is well attuned to what people expect. He keeps the rhythm of the narration fast; this books starts with quite a bang, and there are only brief moments when the reader can have a bit of a break from the tension and the flow of the story. The plot covers many favourite points of the genre. We have not one but two horrific serial killers (even if the second one is a copycat, he is quite twisted in his own right); their murders are discussed in detail (although I’ve read books where the violence is more extreme, this is not for the fainthearted); we get the story told from a variety of points of view (although for the most part each chapter follows only one point of view), including victims and killers; we do not get all the information about the motivations until the end; there are characters to root for as well, and a complex investigation where the police get the assistance of outsiders (although in this case, Kate Marshall used to be a police detective, so she’s not quite the true amateur of other stories).
I did like Kate Marshall and her assistant, Tristan. It’s true that we do not learn a lot about him, but this is the first book in a new series, so there’s plenty of time for that. Kate seems to combine the characteristics of the main characters in many thrillers, as she is both a victim who survived a terrible attack and has suffered trauma due to that, and she is also a disenchanted and retired member of the police force, who due to her experiences and her way of coping with them lost her career, her way, and her family and is now asked to take a look at a case related to her past. I thought that the peculiarities of her circumstances, her relationship with her son, and her attempts at forging a new life for herself make her an interesting character in her own right, even if some of her actions and decisions are not always consistent.
As I have already said, I found that the story stretched my suspension of disbelief too far, and as I am a bit of a stickler for details and love a well-constructed police procedural, it did not work for me. I am aware that I only had access to an ARC copy, and it might well be that some of the minor issues I detected are not present in the final version. If you are a reader who enjoys novels and TV series about serial killers, prefers fast action, an easy read, don’t mind a good deal of explicit violence and some less than savoury characters and family relationships, focus more on the overall plot than on the details, and are looking for a satisfying ending, you’re likely to enjoy this novel. Do check a sample of it and see what you think.
Oh, the fact that I’ve also written a story about a copycat killer might not have helped matters. Just as a reminder, in case you’re interested, I introduced my book Deadly Quotes here (although the offer is no longer available).
Thanks to NetGalley and to the publishers for the book, thanks to all of you for reading, and remember to share, like, and comment if you’re so inclined, and always keep reading, reviewing and smiling!