Saturday, 21 September 2013

The Murder Wall by Mari Hannah

The main character in this book is Kate Daniels, a Detective Chief Inspector with Northumbria Police.
A man is found murdered in an expensive flat in Newcastle, and the case becomes the first one in which Kate is Senior Investigating Officer. She is more than ready for the challenge, but she is also haunted by an unsolved murder earlier in the year. It affected her quite personally and she can't let go of it. It is very important to her to solve this new case, it seems like she has something to prove to herself.

Things get off to a bad start when she recognises the dead man. She should immediately disclose this fact, but she doesn't. It's a split second decision she makes to protect someone she cares about. It's a decision she regrets but events move quickly and there doesn't seem any way back from it. She sees connections between this murder and the unsolved one - but is she just seeing what she wants to see? Kate Daniels is a very capable police officer but her personal feelings are pulling her off course.

This is the first book in a series and as such there are a lot of characters to meet and get to know. I didn't feel out of my depth reading it though, I wasn't overloaded with information which I sometimes find happens with police procedurals (the fault of my concentration - not the genre). Kate Daniels is a very appealing character and I liked her. I liked that she is good at her job, and respected by her colleagues. We get to see some of her personal life, and it's going through a bit of messy phase, as most people's lives do at some point. But it's not so messy that the reader is left wondering how on earth she manages to hold down a responsible job.

Another thing I really liked about it is how Mari Hannah portrays the North East. I think that often it is portrayed as a hard, gritty place, but there is so much more to it. I particularly liked this bit;

The air was fresh as she ran down her street and out on to the main road, turning left a few minutes later, skirting the edge of Jesmond Dene, a Victorian park covering actres of woodland, presented to the city in the late nineteenth century by local philanthropist, Lord Armstrong. Had it been daylight she would've taken in the beauty of this hidden gem: the network of paths and bridges, the waterfall, the mill, all enclosed within a deep narrow valley. The fabulous scenery drew locals and tourists in droves - five minutes and yet a world away from a thriving party city.

The next in the series is Settled Blood and I look forward to reading it and learning more about Kate Daniels and her colleagues.

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