Review: The Killing Season by Mark Pearson (4/5)

Friday 17 October 2014
DI Jack Delaney is trying to make a clean break. Tormented by his troubled past, he has taken his young family out of London, swapping the mayhem of London for the tranquil calm of the north Norfolk coast.

Except it's not so tranquil.

After a terrible storm hits Sheringham, a body is discovered beneath the rubble of a collapsed cliff. Natural disaster? No, this looks like murder, and Jack is the only local resident qualified to investigate.

But when more disappearances follow and the local police step in, Jack finds himself plunged dangerously deep into the investigation – and in the sights of the killer on the loose.

A while ago I was searching for more crime fiction based in London when I came across an author who had a name I found familiar, Mark Pearson. It was familiar as he was the co-author of Private London with James Patterson. When I discovered Pearson had his own series of capital-based crime books I was very excited. Crime fiction set in London is some of my most favourite so I quickly downloaded and read the first book, Hard Evidence. The latest book was meant to be called White City yet for whatever reason it was delayed - I wondered if a new book was even getting released - and so when I saw The Killing Season was coming out I was very excited.

DI Jack Delaney is our main character, and he's one of the best detectives I have read about in recent years. With a troubled past and alcohol dependency issues he could just be the average detective you find in other bland crime fiction novels yet Pearson has created for me a believable, original character who you have no trouble relating to and rooting for. He is a detective who doesn't just ignore the rule book, he tears it to shreds and throws the pieces into the face of his superiors, and I love him for it. That said he doesn't just flout the rules for the sake of it, it's for the good of the public and rather than playing the game of politics, he is an old school police officer. The thing with detectives that don't play by the book is that they get the job done, and they get results and the top brass learn that in the end, usually just before it's too late...

I loved the London setting for the Delaney books and so I was a little apprehensive about the move to Norfolk, however after just a few chapters I was hooked and all thoughts of London vanished, such is the talent of Pearson to immerse the reader in the setting he has created. It's eery, atmospheric and I could feel the biting winds chilling me as I read (and not just because my room was cold)! The book ends on a bit of a cliffhanger and I am torn between whether I want Delaney to return to London or remain in Norfolk. Both settings have potential for a brilliant story yet Pearson could probably put him on Mars and still deliver the goods.

Delaney has moved to Norfolk on a sabbatical and is a private investigator. His boss back in London won't process his resignation so it's a bit of a gap year... Delaney is hoping for a bit of respite, and the book opens with cases that back in London wouldn't have made him bat an eyelid. It's all very tame and a little boring, so when part of a cliff collapses at the local golf course and a body is discovered Delaney soon wants a piece of the action. The local police don't have the resources and so call on Delaney to help, the local Superintendent has already taken a dislike to Delaney however and isn't keen for him to help out. It isn't long however before she relents and he finds himself right in the middle of the case. In the background is the story of an abused orphan who appears to be avenging those that hurt him. How does this tie-in? It certainly gets the brain working and with a very mysterious Prologue kicking the book off, there's a lot to think about.

The book took a little while to get going, but once it did it was brilliant. The last few chapters especially had me glued to the page. As I said it ends on a cliffhanger and I hope the wait for the next book isn't too long and that it will be in our hands very soon. The wait between this and the last was nothing short of excruciating and I'm very excited to see what Pearson is going to come up with next. I highly reccommend this book and the others for those yet to discover Mark Pearson.

Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.

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