With most books, it’s always the characters that grab me first, and Allison Cosgrove has created one of my favourite crime detectives of all time. Stan Brookshire is troubled, complex and has a dark edge to him that you can feel creeping along through the storyline. All of Cosgrove’s characters are well-developed and thought out; none of them are one-dimensional. Even the villain of the story – who often can become a caricature – is present here cleverly through POV switches as a man who feels wronged. While you don’t side with him (as he is the villain, after all), you can be inside his head and understand the way he thinks. These are characters you really feel along the way, seeing their innermost thoughts and hopes.
Cosgrove’s writing style reminds me very much of Cormac McCarthy’s style of writing, making the book very fast-paced and using only what’s necessary in terms of grammar. While some people might not like this style, I think it works well in a thriller, adding a steady pace that keeps your heart racing as you flick over the pages. There were a couple of instances where I would have liked a comma or two thrown in, but as with all books, there’s always a few bits missed. There were also a couple of places were there was a lot of information at times after dialogues where I felt perhaps it could have had more action, but again, that’s mostly personal choice.
The storyline was fantastic. I loved the idea of switching between Stan and Jane’s POV, and the villain’s POV. It really helped to create a tension that kept up throughout the whole novel as the reader is subjected to knowing something before the police, and hoping they can figure it all out in time. There were enough twists I didn’t see coming, or twists that I suspected but never knew when they would hit, to keep you on the edge of your seat, and just like a true crime novel, you’re trying to be armchair detective all the way through to put the pieces together. I hated having to put the book down to do other things! The dialogue is brilliant too, with a good dose of humour peppered through that really makes it feel like a real conversation between two people sat in front of you, rather than just ‘book characters’.
Overall, I thought this was an excellent book, and I loved the characters, setting and storyline. There were a few issues with telling rather showing, and the odd missing comma (which as I said, is easily missed even if several people look over something), but these are mostly my personal taste, and definitely do not detract from what is a dark, tense novel with some brilliant characters. I also like Cosgrove’s style of writing, which keeps it fast-paced and keeps the pages turning ever quicker. I give this book 4.5 stars, and I’m heading straight over to get the next one.