Book Review – Killing The Beasts (DI Jon Spicer #1) by Chris Simms

First published, 2014

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

The story follows two men in their early thirties. While Tom seems to have it all – young wife, lots of stamps in the passport, well paid job working on the advertising and sponsorship side of the Manchester Commonwealth Games 2002 – he’s dissatisfied with his life. Though his wife enjoys spending his money and living the high life in the city, Tom dreams of running a little cafe in Cornwall, out of the rat race and into the fresh air. But how will he ever convince her? And will his sanity stretch all the way to the opening ceremony?

Meanwhile, rugby-playing Detective Inspector Jon Spicer is on the trail of a gang of car thieves, who target high end vehicles in the middle of the night, using a garden cane and an opened letterbox, when the biggest case of his career lands in his lap.

There’s a murderer in their midst. An unknown assailant who attacks women in their homes and stops their breathing with some bizarre-looking cloudy gel. But the women have nothing in common and if Jon wants to keep his position as senior investigating officer on the case, he’ll have to take a step back from the car thefts case – just as they target an old friend.

An absolute rollercoaster. I loved this book. For me, the story took a bit of following – I got so wrapped up in the narrative, I didn’t pay proper attention to the timeline. That said, the biggest twist almost knocked me off my chair, which is no bad thing.

The writing is extraordinary and chilling:

“‘God, I feel like I could dance,’ she said urgently, blowing her breath out and running her fingers through her hair once again. ‘Is it hot in here? Are you hot?’
The man looked around the room as if heat was a visible thing. ’No,’ he replied with a little shake of his head.
“‘I feel hot,’ she said, placing her mug on the table, then waving one hand a little too energetically at her cheek and pulling distractedly at the neck of her dressing gown. The man kept his head lowered, pretending to search for a pen in his jacket pocket.
“The girl went to sit down, stumbling against the leg of the coffee table. ‘Whoops!’ She said with a strange giggle, though panic was starting to show in her eyes. ‘I… I’m dizzy.’
“The room had begun to shift in and out of focus and her breath wouldn’t come properly. She leaned forward and tried to steady herself by putting one hand on the arm of the sofa.
“The man watched impassively.
“Now visibly distressed, she attempted a half turn to sit down, but her coordination was going and she missed the sofa, crashing onto the carpet. As she lay on her back, her eyes rolled up into her head and then closed completely.
“The man calmly got to his feet and put his briefcase on the table. After entering the combination for the lock, he opened it up and removed a long pair of stainless steel pincers from inside.”
1% in, Prologue, Killing The Beasts (Di Jon Spicer #1) by Chris Simms

A great set of characters, really well-observed, with crackling dialogue and evocative scenery. I truly admire this author and will look forward to reading the rest of the series. Bravo.