Author: Luke Delaney
Publication Date: 13th February 2014
Your child has been taken…
Snatched in the dead of night from the safety of the family home. There’s no sign of forced entry, no one heard or saw a thing.
DI Sean Corrigan investigates.
He needs to find four-year-old George Bridgeman before abduction becomes murder. But his ability to see into dark minds, to think like those he hunts, has deserted him – just when he needs it most.
Another child vanishes.
What kind of monster is Corrigan hunting? And will he work it out in time to save the children?
I have had this book sitting on my Kindle for almost a year, and after finishing it I'm actually kicking myself for not reading it sooner, especially after I read and loved Luke's first two books, Cold Killing and The Keeper. Those two books were good, but I'd say The Toy Taker is in another league, and Luke is clearly an author that is only going to improve with each book that he releases, which I think is very exciting. Never again will I leave one of his books lying on my Kindle unread (and if you have one of his on your TBR, I would advise you to read it straightaway)!
Sean Corrigan is one of the more intriguing police officers I have read about, given that he has this unique ability to see into the mind of a killer, to put himself in their shoes and completely understand their thought processes, using it to hunt killers down. Usually, I'd hate something like this, an ability that turns him into some sort of Supercop that can handle everything, yet Sean isn't perfect. He's human with the same fears and flaws that everybody else has, but yes he does have this ability that makes him fascinating to read about, and gives Luke's books their psychological edge, which I love. This time around though Sean's ability has deserted him, at the worst possible time as he is on the hunt for a missing child and he isn't long into the investigation before another goes missing, can Sean capture the monster and save the children? Well.. I'm certainly not going to answer that question, I'm just going to tell you to read this book! I've read hundreds of crime novels, but very few have gripped me as much as this one.
Sean and his team are on the move, from Peckham to New Scotland Yard, and his team are not happy about that. Sean is going to be heading up the Special Investigations Unit, a unit that will handle the absolute worst cases a police officer can ever investigate. But Sean's bosses know that there's nobody more suited to head up this team than him, and deep down Sean knows it too. Straightaway I got caught up in the politics that make up Sean's world. He has demands from every corner of his life, his bosses want the child found ASAP, his colleagues want to know why they are being uprooted and his home life is in disarray as his wife is far from happy as the move means Sean will be spending even more time away from home. Sean and the team haven't even unpacked their things when they are on the case of the missing four-year-old. With a suspect lined-up who fits the bill perfectly (perhaps too perfectly for him to be anything other than a red herring?) it could just be an open and shut case, but with certain family members being a bit iffy, everything isn't as it seems and I spent the book going back and forth, changing my mind constantly and completely on edge knowing that the twists could come at any time (and believe me, they do).
The pacing of these books is perfect, they are long reads but absolutely worth the time invested in them. What I also love is the procedural element which at times reminded me a little of Lynda La Plante's books. Following the team gathering evidence, interviewing suspects, and the everyday banter amongst them. The secondary characters are all well developed also, all having their roles to play and having their own individual stories within the book. Sally is a particular favourite of mine, having lived through some rather traumatic experiences in the previous books she's a character I am really able to root for. Donnelly is also an interesting character, and one that I've never been one hundred percent sure I can trust and as for Sean Corrigan, I said he was intriguing but that doesn't even cut it. Even after three books there's still so much we don't know about him, and he's fast becoming one of my favourite fictional detectives (I say this a lot, how many can I have?!). As for the villains, Luke never fails to create villains that are truly despicable, and that you feel genuine hatred for. It really is just crime fiction done perfectly.
I don't want to say too much more as Luke's next book, The Jackdaw is out very soon and as I think it'll be a fantastic read I'll probably only be repeating myself when I review it. Luke Delaney is definitely underrated in my eyes, writing some of the best crime fiction books in recent years, for crime fans yet to pick up one of his books, you would be well advised to get your hands on Cold Killing. The comparisons to various crime authors are more than deserved, but if it's quality rather than popularity that you go for, I think you'll read Luke's books and agree that they are better than some of their latest efforts. Crime fiction this good doesn't come along often, but when it does it deserves to be read.