LORD OF THE DEAD
A woman's body has been found on the moors of Northumberland, brutally murdered and dismembered. Northumbria police enlist the help of unconventional psychologist Jon Atherton, a decision complicated by his personal history with lead investigator Detective Sergeant Kate Prejean.
As Christmas approaches and pressure mounts on the force, Prejean and Atherton’s personal lives begin to unravel as they find themselves the focus of media attention, and that of the killer known only as Son Of Geb.
*My thanks to the publisher for an advance copy of the novel in return for an unbiased and honest review*
Lord of the Dead is a great police procedural that feels refreshing and new. Rippon has a distinctive voice and his prose is polished, pacy and engaging.
The writing really is impressive. It is so fluent and engaging that I found myself carried along very easily and felt in very safe hands. Rippon's writing is confident and bold, some of the descriptions are brutal and graphic, but well handled and all earn there place and relevance in the story. It's always exciting to discover a writer whose writing is tight and controlled, sparse yet evocative. Rippon's writing drives the action forward yet the descriptive phrases enable to conjure up a whole scene or moment through the sparse yet carefully chosen phrases. I felt his voice was strong, clear, original and very readable.
I liked the different elements that are combined within this story - there is the murder investigation and the police procedural aspect but there are also the personal situations of the main characters. Atherton is not without baggage and not without his own issues and these are introduced very early in the story, immediately building more tension, suspense and depth to the plot and the character. By the third chapter we have been shown a gory crime scene, seen that Atherton's marriage is fragile, full of psychological and emotional complications and that his working relationship with DS Kate Prejean is equally complicated and emotional charged. Not only that but there are hints of repressed memories. I liked that Rippon reveals this so early and it helps to establish a really strong sense of Atherton as a protagonist. This amount of layers and issues could make the opening overwhelming but actually the execution is well managed and it suggests depth rather than sensationalism. I think it also gives it a very contemporary feel, which is further illustrated by the inclusion of social media in the opening of the investigation procedure.
The dialogue is also exceptionally authentic and drives the plot forward effectively as well as helping to develop very clear pictures of the characters. There is plenty of it which ensures that Rippon maintains tension, pace and intrigue as well as making the chapters feel very vivid and alive. The use of dialogue reveals the dynamics between the main characters which is one of the strengths in this novel.
I don't usually comment on the production of the book but I did really like the layout and presentation of the book. It is a relatively short read at about 260 pages which is also appealing. I am very grateful for the advance copy of Lord of the Dead from Obliterati Press and for discovering a new voice in Detective Fiction.
Lord of the Dead was published by Obliterati Press on the 3rd November 2017.
For more recommendations and reviews follow me on Twitter @KatherineSunde3 or via my blog bibliomaniacuk.blogspot.co.uk or website bibliomaniacuk.co.uk