Monument to Murder by Mari Hannah
|Monument to Murder by Mari Hannah|
|Reviewer: Susmita Chatto|
|Summary: When human remains are found near a castle in Northumbria, the murder investigation struggle to find leads, until someone else goes missing....|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 469||Date: November 2013|
|External links: Author's website|
DCI Kate Daniels is working in Northumberland, following the discovery of two bodies buried on a beach, overlooking a beautiful vista. With no knowledge of the local community, Daniels and her loyal team have an overwhelming amount of work to do, as well as a strong sense of justice powering them on. Meanwhile, recently widowed Emily McCann is struggling to cope with a return to her prison work, as well as the added complication of a prisoner who has taken a shine to her. And the two situations are about to collide with one hell of an impact…
The opening chapter of the book is powerful and instantly absorbing. The psychology of the prison inmates and those charged with their welfare is fascinating, and juxtaposed against the unfolding murder investigation, made for a great start. The first chapters of the novel are packed with information and well paced.
As the story develops, the characters are well portrayed and I found myself forming strong feelings for the key players. This is actually the fourth novel in a series, but I had not read the others and this worked perfectly as a stand alone novel. Hannah has woven in all the information for it to be read as a stand alone book, and has done so with skill.
The historical research elements of the investigation are fascinating, and Hannah knows exactly how to pull out the most interesting parts for the reader. The characterisation is strong even for characters who are only in the novel for a brief part, and the twists and turns continue well until the denouement.
I often think the ending is the most critical part of a crime novel; all novels need a good pay off, but with a crime novel it has more of a make-or-break role. For me, there was a level of information delivery in the later stages that interfered with the speed when heading towards a conclusion. This was changed for the actual climax, but I was tempted to skip chunks of information in order to get there; I felt the book would have benefited from a slightly different structure to get over that problem.
I also felt that there was too much focus on Daniels’ personal life, especially in the later half of the novel. I did realise at this point that those who are reading the series may be more invested in her personal life and therefore not mind so much. However, when I am in the middle of a good mystery, I don’t want it interrupted by unrelated matters. Of course, there’s a personal slant with any detective story, but some of this felt poorly placed, and had the personal storyline been woven in at different points, I might not have felt it jarred so much.
However, overall, the book is strong on plot and makes a good read for fans of this type of fiction. It flows well; the characters make an impression immediately and maintain it throughout. The bread and butter of fast banter and incident room discoveries are all well fleshed out; Hannah has created solid characters in a totally believable world. Although the ending seems somewhat delayed, it is ultimately satisfying and overall, the book is very enjoyable.
If this book appeals then you might like to try Witch Hunt by Syd Moore.
You can read more book reviews or buy Monument to Murder by Mari Hannah at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Monument to Murder by Mari Hannah at Amazon.com.
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