Review: The Girl Who Broke the Rules by Marnie Riches

Saturday, 29 August 2015
Title: The Girl Who Broke the Rules
Author: Marnie Riches
Publisher: Maze
Publication Date: 20th August 2015
Pages: 391
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4.5/5
Purchase: Amazon
When the mutilated bodies of two sex-workers are found in Amsterdam, Chief Inspector van den Bergen must find a brutal murderer before the red-light-district erupts into panic.

Georgina McKenzie is conducting research into pornography among the UK’s most violent sex-offenders but once van den Bergen calls on her criminology expertise, she is only too happy to come running.

The rising death toll forces George and van den Bergen to navigate the labyrinthine worlds of Soho strip-club sleaze and trans-national human trafficking. And with the case growing ever more complicated, George must walk the halls of Broadmoor psychiatric hospital, seeking advice from the brilliant serial murderer, Dr. Silas Holm…

Despite nearly ever single crime blogger I know raving about Marnie Riches' first novel, The Girl Who Wouldn't Die, I sadly never got around to reading it before The Girl Who Broke the Rules which I was a little disappointed about because this book was brilliant and Marnie Riches has a very bright future ahead of her in the genre.

The first thing I look for in a new crime series is for something that sets it apart from all the other books in the genre. Crime fiction is a crowded genre but occasionally an author comes along and delivers a book which is completely fresh and original, but which at the same time keeps a sense of what makes a crime story so addictive in the first place, and adds to the story all those things that made us fans of the genre in the first place. From the book's Amsterdam setting, to the writing to the brilliant characterisation, everything about The Girl Who Broke the Rules was spot on for me, and I can't wait to go back and read Marnie's debut novel.

In terms of the story I am loathe to reveal too much and so will stick with my obligatory blurb insertion for those that might not know what the story is about. The mutilated bodies of two sex-workers are found in Amsterdam, and Chief Inspector van den Bergen is under pressure to find their killer before the red light district erupts into panic. He calls upon Georgina McKenzie to offer fresh insight into the case and because of their history, she's more than happy to accept. When another body turns up elsewhere, things get a whole lot more complicated for the duo and it falls to Georgina to enter Broadmoor psychiatric hospital in search of an inmate who just might be able to offer some help.

My favourite crime author is Chris Carter and one of his most recent books, An Evil Mind, was a real character study into a truly damaged human mind. He created a character that instilled genuine fear into the reader because of how real the portrayal felt. I got that exact same feeling with the character that Marnie has created in Dr. Silas Holm, the serial murderer that Georgina has been sent to interview in Broadmoor. I like the fact that Marnie chose to set part of the book there, rather than creating a completely fictional version of a psychiatric hospital. It's an atmospheric read in places, helped along by the fact that you know the author has clearly done their research.

I love short chapters that get you straight into the action and Marnie wastes no time at all in getting the story going. It's a multi-layered mystery with enough unsavoury characters and twists and turns to keep even the most seasoned wannabe detective guessing and at times, it is a very dark and gruesome read which for me, is always the best kind. Each chapter is titled with where that particular chapter is taking place and that helped me to visualise things better, and I had the book read in no time at all so if The Girl Who Broke the Rules is on your TBR, please ensure that you have a good few hours free before picking it up! 2015 has been a fantastic year for us crime fans, and it continues with this release from Marnie Riches. Highly recommended.

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