Whispers in the Dark by Chris McDonald – review

Published by Red Dog Books

Publication date – 14 November 2020

Source – Review

Small time drug dealer, Marcus Stone and DCI Clive Burston had never met until one night in August. By the end of that night, both had been shot dead in a small bedroom in the heart of gang territory.

DI Erika Piper is called to the scene but is at a loss to explain what’s happened. How did these two even meet, let alone end up dead in what appears to be a strange murder-suicide?

As Erika leads the investigation, another two bodies are found, killed in a similar fashion. One murder, one suicide. But who is controlling this macarbre puppet show?

As Erika delves deeper into the lives of the dead, the pieces begin to fit together and a number of nefarious characters crawl out of the woodwork – one of whom is almost certainly pulling the strings.

A catastrophic event and a personal miracle threaten to derail the investigation. Erika must find the strength to continue, before the whispers catch up with her too…

Two bodies found in a bedroom of a run down house. One, a gang member, the other a police officer. Their paths haven’t crossed until this fateful night. What links the victims to each other? DI Erika Piper has to find out, and fast, as the body count rises…

The book opens with a violent scene, setting the stage for the rest of the book. The story revolves around gangs and so violence is a theme throughout, though it is not gratuitous.

There is a limited pool of suspects, which helps the reader keep track of who everyone is. It’s always a fine balance between  too few characters so that the culprit is quickly obvious and too many characters so that names begin to lose meaning.  Here the balance is just about right.

The setting of the novel was easy to imagine, the run down housing estates, the church that sits incongruously  amongst it, the canals and tow paths were all vividly drawn.

The mystery itself is engaging. Too much can’t be said for fear of giving it away but the reasons behind the murders, and how they are executed is interesting and novel, making them all the more dark for the fact that someone is controlling the murder/suicides.

I had guessed who the murderer quite early on in the novel but that didn’t spoil my enjoyment, it just meant I was waiting for Erika to catch up with me!

Whispers in the Dark is the second book in the Erika Piper series. There is mention of the culprit from the first book in the second so completionists may want to read that other book before Whispers in the Dark.

An interesting, easy to read, engaging book.

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