Published by: HarperCollins/William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: 05/21/2013
Number of Pages: 448
Series: 1st in the D.I. Sean Corrigan Series
From the publisher—
Detective Inspector Sean Corrigan is not like other detectives. An unthinkable childhood left him with a fierce determination to protect the innocent. But it also marked him with an ability to identify the darkness in others—a darkness he recognizes still exists deep within himself.
When a young man is found brutally murdered, Corrigan, responsible for South London’s Murder Investigation Team, takes the case. But what first appears to be a straightforward domestic murder very quickly leads Corrigan to several other victims and the most dangerous killer he’s ever encountered. The perpetrator changes his modus operandi with each crime and leaves behind not a shred of usable forensic evidence. Still, Corrigan knows beyond a doubt that the same man is behind each of these deaths, and he soon finds himself in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer who strikes far too close to home.
Those of us who read and love mysteries, no matter what the subgenre, are something of a strange breed because we’re so picky. We’re a close-knit bunch, recognizing kindred spirits wherever we go, but we’re also rather unforgiving at times, particularly when it comes to details. We want “our” authors to get it right so, for instance, we’ll jump all over the six-shooter that is fired 10 times without reloading or the medical examiner who can pinpoint time of death within 15 minutes upon first glancing at the body’s lividity. Mistakes like these are most noticeable in a police procedural so finding one that seems to get it right is a real pleasure.
Cold Killing is such a book and that’s not surprising considering Luke Delaney’s background. This author clearly knows what he’s doing and he has crafted a tale that’s a real nailbiter. Serial killer stories have become something of a trend but I really appreciated this one, especially in the way we’re allowed into the minds of both the killer and the detective. The switching back and forth from one POV to the other as well as the occasional change of tense is done so smoothly that I barely noticed and I was really pulled into the psychology behind their behavior. I’ve often thought there is a very fine line between hardcore criminals and *some* (certainly not all) of the people who make a living by pursuing them. Mr. Delaney expounds on that notion beautifully.
DI Corrigan is a man I’d like to have on my side and his use of his own past history to catch the bad guys makes him not only good at his job but also intensely interesting as a person. His pursuit of this particular killer is full of twists and a few red herrings and I was truly surprised by the outcome. If I have any fault to find, it’s in the unquestioning acceptance of a tactic used to help make the case. I’m not surprised that this happens, only that no one on the force seemed to lift an eyebrow. Perhaps it occurs in real life more often than I think and, while it’s wrong, it’s easy to understand why it might happen.
To say that Cold Killing is, at times, gutwrenching is putting it mildly and it’s definitely not for the faint of heart. If you are put off by cruelty, a lot of blood, an unremitting coldness of heart, the long-term consequences of abuse, the complete lack of empathy, this book is not for you. If, on the other hand, you’re looking for a police procedural that pulls no punches and tells the story in all its gritty truth, I highly recommend Cold Killing and I’ll be looking forward to Sean Corrigan’s next case. In the meantime, this will be going on my list of favorite books read in 2013.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, May 2013.
One of the strangest things about the city was the sudden way it disappeared around the edges. One minute you were down on Sunset Boulevard surrounded by glass and concrete, and the next thing you knew you were up on Mulholland Drive, alone in the rough country. From a high window or a rooftop almost anywhere in Los Angeles you could see the mountains, and there was always something ravenous up there looking down.
I was up among the hungry creatures, standing at the edge of a cliff, with Hollywood and Santa Monica far below me in the distance. One step forward and I would be in midair. I was looking down and wondering if Haley had considered how suddenly you could go from city to wilderness. Then I wondered if it was a distinction without a difference, if the city might be the wilderness and the wilderness the city, and maybe Los Angeles’s edges seemed to disappear so suddenly because there really was no separation between sidewalks and mountain paths, buildings and boulders. Up in the mountains or down in the city, either way the carnivores were in control.
I imagined Haley, out of her mind, running full speed off the cliff. I wondered what it had been like, that final second or two before she hit. Had she realized what was happening? Did she recognize the city lights below for what they were, or did she really think she was flying toward the stars? And did she think of me?
Stepping closer to the edge, I slid the toes of my shoes into the air. I looked down two hundred feet, toward the spot where she had broken on the rocks. I stood one inch from eternity and tried to imagine life without her. I could not summon up a single reason why I shouldn’t take that final step, except for one. I thought about the kind of animal who would drive someone to do what my wife had done. Predators like that were everywhere. I should know. I had trained for half my life to be one of them. I was hungry, looking down on the city. If I was going to live, the hunger would have to be enough, for now. But I would sink my teeth into him, sooner or later. I would do that for Haley, and for myself, and then maybe it would be my turn to see if I could fly.
I stepped back from the edge.
About the Author
Luke Delaney joined the Metropolitan Police Service in the late 1980s and his first posting was to an inner city area of South East London notorious for high levels of crime and extreme violence. He later joined CID where he investigated murders ranging from those committed by fledgling serial killers to gangland assassinations.