Review: Death Night by Todd Ritter

Wednesday 8 July 2015
Title: Death Night
Author: Todd Ritter
Publisher: Maze
Publication Date: 25th June 2015
Pages: 400
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 3.5/5
Purchase: Amazon
24 hours: that’s all they have to stop a killer in his tracks...

Two things Perry Hollow Police Chief Kat Campbell never thought she would do again: Enter a burning building, and lay eyes on Henry Goll, the man who was trapped inside with her the last time she was in one. So Kat's on high alert when, barely a year after the dust settled around the Grim Reaper killings, both happen on the same day.

She's jolted awake at 1 a.m. by a desperate phone call telling her Perry Hollow’s one and only museum—home to all the town’s historical artifacts—has been set on fire. Arriving at the scene, Kat catches just a glimpse of Henry's face among the crowd before she's rushed into the charred building, only to find the museum curator dead…bludgeoned, not burned.

Kat has lived through some tense moments and seen some gruesome crimes, but the next twenty-four hours will be the most dangerous of her life as she and Henry seek out a killer and the motivation behind these terrifying crimes.

It is both frustrating and exciting to start a book at its climax, only to then be taken back in time to read about the events that led up to that point. That's exactly what happens in Death Night when we see police chief Kat Campbell standing inside a room that has been kitted out with propane tanks which could explode at any time. Fires are breaking out across the small town of Perry Hollow, fires which could devastate the town forever. Kat arrives at Perry Hollow's one and only museum which holds all of the town's historical artifacts, and finds inside the dead body of the museum's curator, but it wasn't the fire that killed him. The ensuing twenty-four hours are about to become the most dangerous of her life. I always say that I have a soft spot for female crime fiction detectives and I especially liked how well created the character of Kat was, she is a character with real depth and one where you can really see the effort the author has put into the character, especially in terms of her personal life and history.

Crime fiction which takes place in a small town American setting are some of my favourites to read. Small towns having their own rules, and they are places where everybody knows your business. In terms of where the story goes in Death Night it reminded me of a John Sandford novel I read a while ago, and it really shows the lengths that people will go to in order to protect their town and also to save it. There's real atmosphere all the way through Death Night and I could easily picture what I was reading thanks to Todd's quite vivid descriptions. The book had that 'American' feeling that I usually get from a Karen Rose novel, this one was just a thousand pages less.

Each chapter takes place over just one hour which makes the book exciting and extremely fast-paced. It's one of those books that demands a one or two-sitting read if possible. The mystery element is brilliantly done and it certainly kept me guessing throughout. I have read a number of books recently where the final resolution shocked me, but at the same time left me wondering how I didn't work it out sooner. In Death Night the final revelations are fantastic, and the reasoning behind everything is all too believable. How's that paragraph for ambiguity? In all seriousness though it is a great read.

It seems Todd Ritter's Kat Campbell series is another one that has passed me by until now, but I'll definitely be hoping to read the previous books in the very near future.


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