Avon | 2018 (9 August) | 464p | Review copy | Buy the book
The Serial Crimes Unit is under threat. There’s every chance that it will be disbanded and it’s unlikely that any traditional police force would welcome a maverick risk-taking detective like DS Heckenburg (that’s ‘Heck’ to you and me). Cold Crimes are feeling the heat as well and so a plan is forged to combine their efforts in such a way that will ensure their survival. For Operation Sledgehammer they are going to catch some of the country’s most high profile and feared multiple offenders, the murderers and rapists who have committed crimes so heinous that not even other criminals will have anything to do with them.
Heck and his boss (and ex-girlfriend) Detective Superintendent Gemma Piper are given one of the nastiest men to catch – armed robber Eddie Creeley. The problem is nobody seems to know where he is, even his sister is worried about him, and it would seem that he’s not the only one on the Operation Sledgehammer list of nasties to have disappeared. It’s almost as if somebody is trying to beat the police to it…
Kiss of Death is the seventh novel in Paul Finch’s excellent DS Heckenburg series. I’ve loved all of these books, including this one, and yet there’s something a little extra special about Kiss of Death. Heck has been doing some thinking about his future and what he wants. Perhaps it’s time for a change. If you’ve read the other books that you’ll appreciate the long and troubled history between Heck and Gemma. If you haven’t, then you’ll have no problem catching up. The book works well on its own. But if you’re invested in these characters, then you won’t want to miss Kiss of Death.
Kiss of Death has a great premise and it fully delivers on it, gradually revealing the true magnitude of what Heck and his colleagues are up against. It also means that Heck and the others are given something unusual to think about – the welfare of villains who have wasted no pity on their victims. How far will Heck go to protect a killer? It adds a depth to novel that is also full of interconnecting threads and lives. It’s all held together so well by Paul Finch who, as always, knows how to deliver a great plot. He also knows how to frighten – there are some disturbing, even scary, scenes here and moments of violence. But none of it’s gratuitous. We need to understand the evil that Heck and the others face.
There are shocks to be found in these pages and we know that they will have repercussions for the future. I can only wonder where Paul Finch will take Heck, and us, next. I can’t wait.
I’m delighted to post this review as part of the blog tour. For other stops on the tour, do take a look at the poster below.