Detective Inspector (DI) Grace Archer is about to start her new job at Charing Cross station, but her first day is more chaotic than she thought it would be…
Author of this grisly tale, David Fennell, was born and raised in Belfast, Ireland. He left for London at the age of 18 with nothing more on him than £50 and a copy of Stephen King’s The Strand. Fennell is a fierce advocate for information privacy – a rather adamant theme in his debut book, The Art of Death.
The story follows DI Grace Archer as she begins a new job in London; not before taking down a beloved yet dirty cop that worked at the very station she’ll be working at.
Not only did she rid the office of everyone’s favourite officer, but she is also taking over his job; much to the dismay of most of the staff who dislike her for taking over the said former colleague’s position.
As Archer gets a drink at a local café, she is none-the-wiser that someone is watching her; he is watching her… Heading into work, she is bombarded with a case as soon as she steps her foot in the door.
Someone has placed three large glass cabinets, filled with formaldehyde, in the middle of Trafalgar Square for everyone to see. This is the first ‘art exhibition’ created by the villain of this story - @nonymous.
The glass display cases each have disturbing contents; three cabinets for three victims.
Archer and her new and rather pleasant partner Harry Quinn, along with the reluctant help of the other Detectives in the precinct, must find out who has done this – and fast.
More cabinets are revealed and the killer will not stop torturing Archer; he knows her past and is using it to haunt her.
She has faced a murderer before and she will not back down from doing it again.
Archer works relentlessly to stop the killer as he posts murder videos all over the internet, and with social media being so prominent in people’s lives, they’re spreading like wildfire.
Social media is a strong theme within this story, as many of the victims have rather open online presences. That is how the killer grabs them – technology is his weapon.
Can Archer stop this mystery masochist? Will the police bag the right man?
I adored the first few pages of this book; they gripped me right away. Diving straight into the killer’s perspective before we see from Archer’s was a brilliant way to start this macabre tale.
The book did take a while to get some momentum, and reading through it I was waiting for the twist. When it finally came, I was not disappointed.
Fennell has weaved an excellent narrative here, and has given us a wonderful and interesting main character. Unlike other crime novels I’ve read, the book is not bulked down with rivers of information about our hero.
We get just enough information about Archer, such as her mixed heritage, her heterochromia (having different colours across each eye, which I found charming), and the mystery of what happened to her as a child; her story is slowly revealed throughout and isn’t forced upon you in the first few pages.
The eerie sense Archer feels throughout the book as though someone is following her is almost always present, and keeps you on the edge of your seat.
When our self-proclaimed ‘artist’ goes after his victims, it is a chilling yet exhilarating scene as the poor soul fights for their life; it’s almost like watching a horror movie where you want to yell, ‘he’s behind you!’.
The chapters from the perspective of @nonymous were thrilling, and at times it felt like I had opened up Hannibal Lector’s diary; the killer’s calm sense of almost serenity was unnerving in the best way, and still kept me guessing at who our anti-hero could be.
Despite the somewhat slow start and one or two chapters where little occurred, the ending of this novel made up for all of that.
Fennell knows how to write an ending, and knows how to write supporting characters that you root for alongside Archer.
The Art of Death is a brilliant, unnerving and macabre story, with gruesome murders, explicit detail, and a narrative that definitely kept me guessing who was behind the @nonymous mask. It’s one to pick up as soon as you get a chance!
Written by Melissa, who you can follow on Twitter @melissajournal
Two men with separate lives become close after the murder of their mutual friend. They solve crimes the police care nothing about – and it seems their first case is far from their last.
When I was sent the Soho Noir set, I was immediately thrilled. Each book is a different colour of the rainbow, which match perfectly with their contents. The set included six books, all around 100 pages or so, and they are simply exquisite...
Tagged in Book review