Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Review: Death Notice by Todd Ritter (Kat Campbell #1)

Publisher - Minotaur Books
Publication Date - 5th November 2010
Hardback - 336 pages
Genre - Mystery

Source - Received from Kaye Publicity for review

Rating - 4 out of 5: I really liked it

Book Info - Perry Hollow, Pennsylvania, has never had a murder. At least not as long as Kat Campbell has been sheriff. And the first one is a doozy: George Winnick, a farmer in his sixties, is found in a homemade coffin by the side of the highway with his lips sewn shut and his veins and arteries drained of blood and filled with embalming fluid. Not only that, but the Perry Hollow Gazette obituary writer, Henry Goll, got advance notice of his death.

But it’s when the Pennsylvania Bureau of Investigation task force shows up that the news really turns bad. Nick Donnelly, head of the task force, has been chasing this killer – the ‘Betsy Ross Killer’, because he’s handy with a needle and thread – for more than a year. George Winnick seems to be his fourth victim. Or is he?

Though Kat has never handled a murder case before, she’s not going to sit by while someone terrorizes her town, and threats against her only son are the very last straw.

My Thoughts - For me, the strongest aspect of this novel is the brilliantly complex and realistic characters that the author portrays. They have all been through such struggles and are still dealing with them when they are called upon to solve these murders. They are all so well drawn that I felt as if I knew all the people living in Perry Hollow and I loved every single one of them. I actually felt my heart breaking for some of the characters as their pasts were revealed.

The first half of the novel seems to revolve around revealing the characters and the background of the town and the murders, but the descriptions of the people and places are so vivid and realistic that you don’t really notice the slower pace of the novel. Not until you reach the second half when the author cranks the action up a gear and Kat, Nick and Henry are involved in a race against the clock to save lives. I found it difficult to put the book down and I kept reading long into the night to find out who the killer is.

However, this isn’t a novel for the faint-hearted. There are some very detailed descriptions of how the murders are carried out (especially in the nail-biting final pages!) and at one point the reader is buried alive with one of the main characters, which made for some quite uncomfortable, and scary, reading! But despite these squirm-inducing details I still thoroughly enjoyed reading Death Notice and I have to say that this is probably the best crime novel I have read for a long time. This is the author’s debut novel I can’t wait to find out what he has got next in store for us!

Summary - A very enjoyable, though at times gruesome, novel that will keep the reader hooked until the very last page!

Other books in the series:
1. Death Notice
2. Bad Moon

Other reviews of this book:
Fiction Addict / Jenn's Bookshelves / Lesa's Book Critiques / S. Krishna's Books


Ellie said...

Cool to find another Bournemouth blogger! If you're ever looking for an in person book group, we meet up once a month in town:

Chrissie (Once Upon a Series) said...

Thanks for letting me know Ellie. I might try and come along some time :)

trailsofthepen said...

Oh, another one from his series to look out for. :D Thanks!

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