Friday, 19 April 2013

Stop Dead

I had not read any of the Geraldine Steel series prior to Stop Dead, this is the fifth instalment, and nor at any point during reading did I feel that I was at a disadvantage for not having done so.

Having recently transferred to London, Detective Inspector Geraldine Steel is investigating the murder of a wealthy businessman, Patrick Henshaw.  His body was found in a car, brutally mutilated.  At first it is thought to have been a crime of passion conducted by either his wife or her lover.  It is not until Henshaw's business partner is found dead, murdered in the same horrible way, that Steel realises that there's possibly more to these murders than what it originally seemed.
In the beginning, I was reminded of Tess Gerritsen's Rizzoli and Isles series, as Russell was mixing her murder case with details about her detective's home life.  However, unlike one of Gerritsen's impeccably paced novels, the narrative of Stop Dead was bogged down by multiple (and sometimes needless) P.O.Vs and the details of Steel's life outside of work.  At no point did I feel that rush to find out who was committing these grizzly murders. 

In fact, all those red herring's that are so heavily promoted in the blurb were needless; halfway through the book it becomes rather obvious as to who the real culprit is. 

Another flaw of Stop Dead is that I felt characterization was completely off.  Many of the suspects are typical two dimensional stereotypical characters you'd find in any generic crime novel.  Then there's Steel's Sergeant, Sam, who reads like a stroppy teenager who only cares about her stomach and chips.  How on earth, in real life, would this girl be able to work in a homicide investigations department?  

One redeeming feature, for me, were the scenes where the bodies were discovered, often in odd places.  However, while Leigh Russell's latest offering would probably be a good disposable beach read, Stop Dead doesn't inspire me to read any of Russell's other books.

This was an ARC review for Real Readers, Stop Dead is published by No Exit Press on the 30th May.

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