Title: Cold Killing
Author: Luke Delaney
Genre: Thriller Crime
Published: May 21st 2013
Terrifyingly authentic, London-set debut crime novel with a psychological edge, by an ex-Met detective. Perfect for fans of Mark Billingham, Peter James and Stuart MacBride.
DI Sean Corrigan is not like other detectives. The terrible abuse he suffered in childhood hasn’t stopped him enjoying family life with his wife and two daughters, or pursuing an impressive career with South London’s Murder Investigation Unit. But it has left him with an uncanny ability to identify the darkness in others – a darkness he recognises still exists deep within his own psyche and battles to keep buried there. Now Sean’s on the trail of the most dangerous killer he’s ever encountered. The perpetrator has no recognisable MO, leaves no forensic evidence and his victims have nothing in common. But Sean knows they were all murdered by the same man. Now all he has to do is find the evidence, convince his bosses and stop the killing …before his adversary gets too close to home…
I’ve been currently reading more thriller books as of late. Detective and psychological thrillers have been piquing my interest. Characters broken with a dubious past always makes for an excellent story, and when both the antagonist and protagonist have this makeup it makes for a delectably dark read.
We are introduced to Luke Delaney’s character DI Sean Corrigan in Cold Killing. I picked this one up after a friend, ahem Robbie, raved about his writing in The Keeper, and boy was she spot on!
Sean Corrigan is not your typical detective from how this story reads. This is an intricate man with an intricate and deeply troubled past, although this really doesn’t come to light until the very end. Perhaps I should say, the reader has the allusion of this troubled past as we don’t really get the full spectrum of what really happens to him until closer to the end; and even in the end it just barely touches upon it. But his past is an important part. It’s his past that makes him better at what he does. It’s how he treats the criminal that keeps him one step ahead, and helps to catch the perpetrator in the end.
What he has is empathy, a sort of criminal instinct that is second nature to him. That is not to be confused with sympathy, a sentiment he does not waste among the rapists and murders he is after. But he does have empathy. He recognizes the suspects emotions, the reasoning for the way the suspects acts, and he is able to step into the footsteps of a madman if only for a few moments. Corrigan is eerily precise as he clinically dissects and assesses the crime scene. The death of the victims haunts him and he is fueled with the need to stop the criminal even if his driven nature hurts those close to him. Corrigan is not “superman” and I don’t believe he wants to have this gift. But he is haunted by a past that he cannot escape and to keep from crossing that line of good and evil he needs to believe that he is inherently good, no matter what he feels inside. And so he conforms to the good guy persona that police officers are usually associated with in our society.
This makes the reader want to cheer him on. His internal battle is agonizingly frustrating and he hides his flaw amongst his peers and his enemies, lest they use it against him, or perhaps worse, feel sorry for him. You want to shake Sean Corrigan and say, “You are the good guy mate, you are.” And you want his wife Kate to slap him and to make him believe it too. But let me interrupt this review for a second to verbalize a pet peeve of mine. Why do authors insist on writing families into a thriller novel? It really is irritating, because I can feel a domestic crash happening in a future book. I really hope that I am wrong because his wife is a strong figure, deeply committed to a difficult relationship that entails long hours and many nights where they are mere ships passing. His wife Kate and two children keep him anchored to normalcy. They are his light. It would be a shame if Corrigan’s family life was destroyed by all the darkness that surrounds him on a daily basis. Please don’t let me hate you Detective. I did that with the Chelsea Cain novels and I wanted throw my tablet across the room.
But back to the review, I absolutely love Delaney’s writing. You follow along and you really have no idea what the next page will bring. The unpredictability of his story will suck the reader in. The characters are complex, and at times you have no idea what side anyone is playing on. No motive, mo mercy, no remorse. You would think that was the antagonist Delaney was talking about in the front of the book. Could he be referring to Sean Corrigan? Now I’m not so sure after having read the end.
Before concluding, may I say, that is a killer cover 😉 Just LOL’ing aren’t you?
Onward to The Keeper!