Review: The Dead Room by Chris Mooney

Monday, 13 April 2015
Title: The Dead Room (Darby McCormick, #3)
Author: Chris Mooney
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 6th August 2009
Pages: 464
ISBN: 9780141039879
Source: Library
Rating: 4/5
Purchase: Amazon
A mother and her son have been executed in their home and fingerprint matches show their attacker died twenty years ago.

But how can dead serial killers return to haunt the present?

The answers lie in the darkest shadows of The Dead Room.

When CSI Darby McCormick is called to the crime scene, it's one of the most gruesome she's ever seen. But the forensic evidence is even more disturbing: someone watched the murder unfold from woodland behind the house - and the killer died in a shoot-out two decades earlier.

The deeper Darby digs, the more horrors come to light. Her prime suspect is revealed as a serial killer on an enormous scale, with a past that's even more shocking than his crimes, thanks to a long-held secret that could rock Boston's law enforcement to its core.

I read and enjoyed the first two books in the CSI Darby McCormick series very recently, and I saw the potential that this series had to be something great. The Dead Room is the book that has now made me a huge fan of Chris Mooney, and I have completely fallen in love with the character of Darby, she is just such a fantastic character and one that I can't wait to read about again.

The Dead Room is a complicated book to write the whole 'this is what happens' in one paragraph, and so the best thing I can say is read the blurb. What we have with The Dead Room is an extremely addictive mystery, a tale that will keep readers guessing from start to finish and has some quite shocking secrets that are revealed in dramatic fashion as the story progresses with numerous twists that this reader failed to see coming. A cliche it might be, but some are jaw-dropping.

It's really difficult to explain why, but the ending of this book is the kind that I just love. It's a cliffhanger, but not in the way that the story won't conclude until the next book, but in the sense that there are some major developments for Darby throughout the book, and the book finishes with one that I simply cannot wait to read more about, and has left me more than a little intrigued to discover just how Mooney is going to continue this series going forward, hopefully it's done in an exciting way rather than a 'let's brush this under the carpet and move on' kind of way.

Those new to the series can certainly start with The Dead Room. It opens giving the reader a real sense of the character that Darby is, and the person that she's becoming as her career advances further. As a woman, she faces the obligatory sexism that a female main character invariably faces, yet rather than kick up a fuss about it, she's quite accepting of it, and I suppose that's okay given that she's more than a match for any of her male counterparts, and she's not somebody I would want to get on the wrong side of. She's also quite an impulsive character, often acting without thinking, which gets her into trouble on more than one occasion. Then again, where would the fun come from if she did everything by the book? Even just comparing Darby with the person she is at the start and end of The Dead Room is fascinating in itself.

I'm repeating what I have said in previous reviews, but one of the really enjoyable things about this series is the focus on evidence and forensics. I love how Mooney picks up on the little details that I would never even think about, not just when analysing a scene but in making Darby think numerous steps ahead. And also, showing just how evidence can be used not only to apprehend a killer, but also point the police in the wrong direction. Perhaps the message here is that often too much emphasis is placed on evidence, and what we take to be the truth, might not always be the case. The Dead Room is a thought-provoking read. Is it entirely realistic? Perhaps not, but I am finding the series too enjoyable to care all that much about how realistic it is. It's fiction at the end of the day.

Rather than continue with this essay length review, I will say that this is a series that seems to get better with each book that I read, and so I imagine there will be another Chris Mooney review up on the blog very soon.

4/5

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