Review: The Slaughter Man by Tony Parsons

Thursday 14 May 2015
Title: The Slaughter Man (DC Max Wolfe, #2)
Author: Tony Parsons
Publisher: Century
Publication Date: 21st May 2015
Pages: 384
ISBN: 9781780892351
Source: NetGalley
Rating: 3.5/5
Purchase: Amazon
On New Year’s Day, a wealthy family is found slaughtered inside their exclusive gated community in north London, their youngest child stolen away.

The murder weapon – a gun for stunning cattle before they are butchered – leads Detective Max Wolfe to a dusty corner of Scotland Yard’s Black Museum devoted to a killer who thirty years ago was known as the Slaughter Man.

But the Slaughter Man has done his time, and is now old and dying. Can he really be back in the game?

And was the murder of a happy family a mindless killing spree, a grotesque homage by a copycat killer – or a contract hit designed to frame a dying man?

All Max knows is that he needs to find the missing child and stop the killer before he destroys another innocent family – or finds his way to his own front door …

A lot of my favourite bloggers detested The Murder Bag, but I have to be honest and admit that I rather enjoyed it. I found both the plot and DC Max Wolfe himself held my interest and as I am a sucker for a good cover and blurb (I'll never learn), I happily accepted an invite to review The Slaughter Man. Having read it I would definitely encourage those that weren't keen on The Murder Bag to take a second chance on Max Wolfe.

The book opens on New Year's Day, with a wealthy family being slaughtered in a gated community in North London, the youngest son being taken away. The murder weapon is a gun used for stunning cattle, and this once again leads Max Wolfe to the infamous Black Museum, and to an old and dying killer known as the Slaughter Man, what is the connection and how could the Slaughter Man possibly be involved? Wolfe must work against the clock, to save a young child and prevent any further massacres.

In comparison to The Murder Bag the focus is very much on the crimes in the novel, and the people that commit them. Parsons really gets the reader inside the mind of each of the characters, and this is a tale that definitely kept me guessing until the very end. I am a reader that enjoys crime fiction towards the brutal end of the spectrum, and that is very much what is delivered here. Parsons descriptions are brilliant, at times you want to look away, yet others you are just compelled to read on.

Wolfe himself is a character I keep changing my mind about. As much as Parsons would like to set him apart from others in the genre, and for us to see him as this fantastic father, a family man, he isn't all that different from other crime fiction detectives in that he still has to abandon his daughter to work on a new case, and those scenes with Scout I am starting to find a little tiresome and unnecessary. This is a character-driven story though, but it's the characters that Wolfe must hunt down that stood out the most for me.

Something else I am enjoying about this series is the portrayal of London itself. I have been fascinated by the Black Museum for a long time, and wish it could be opened to the public, but I love that Parsons includes it in his novels as, shockingly, it's not something that I have seen featured in many crime novels before (that I have read, anyway) and hope that this is something that's continued as the series progresses. All in all, I very much enjoyed The Slaughter Man and yes, I will be keeping an eye out for the third in this series!


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