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A serial killer has awoken, his goal is simple – to craft the perfect murder. He will search London for his chosen victims, their gender and age almost an irrelevance. This is a murderer whose pattern of killing is that there is no pattern. Regarding it as almost a game, the killer will never stop. He can not be caught. But in South London’s Murder Investigation Unit there is a detective like no other. DI Sean Corrigan has a past as black as night but rather than let it push him into evil, he is determined to use his insight into darkness to catch killers. He has an empathy with bad people. He can almost see their deeds and know their minds. Although not infallible, Sean Corrigan backs up his instinct with police procedure. Determined, almost obsessed, Corrigan will not give up the hunt once he has caught the scent, supported by his dedicated team of men and women, each of whom has a strong mind of their own.
Cold Killing is Luke Delaney’s debut novel. Since its publication there have been two (soon to be three) more but it is in Cold Killing that we are first introduced to Sean Corringan. That introduction starts abruptly – the beginning of this novel is brutal and hard to read. Our murderer has a habit of shocking the reader from page one. But once we meet Corrigan and his team, the novel settles down into a pacey, intelligent police procedural. Corrigan has to rely on more than brute instinct. This is a case to test his brain cells. Very soon into the book, Corrigan meets a man who is to torment him and what follows is an intricate and complicated dance or battle between these two opponents. All around them, though, chaos happens. Dead bodies, deception, unhappy families, corruption and single-minded dogged pursuit. A cat and mouse game of the highest order, one to keep the reader on the edge of his or her seat.
But as with any good whodunnit, you know that there must be more to it. And there is. Much more.
Cold Killing isn’t quite perfect – I guessed the outcome very early on. Nevertheless, this didn’t spoil the book for me at all. I wanted to see how it had been done. I was fascinated by the meticulous details of the investigation. Delaney’s background as a murder squad detective in the Met certainly shines through. I thought the mix of detail and murderous plot was extremely well done, switching point of views between the police and their quarry. The murders themselves are horrifying and merciless. We’re behind Corrigan every step of the way.
Corrigan is a fine, well-written character on which to build a series. He’s troubled but he’s very likeable. He has a loving family. His team keep their distance but they clearly respect him. Fortunately, I have the next books in the series ready to read and I’m really glad about that. I think that each will go from strength to strength, building on the immensely strong foundations of Cold Killing. I am hooked.