Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Love Story with Murders by Harry Bingham
3.0 out of 5 stars - This is the second novel in the series following "Talking to the Dead" featuring protagonist Detective Constable Fiona Griffiths. I didn't enjoy this as much as the first book - the pace was slower and the overall plot of the story was a bit confusing and less interesting to me.
The setting is Wales, and it's very cold when Fi and her partner receive a call to pick up some strange "rubbish" at the end of a long day. What they find is a leg with a high heel on it, packaged and frozen in the garage chest freezer of a recently deceased old woman. Shortly after, body parts of another person are found scattered throughout the area - but this one's parts are male. Two murders -- both involving dismemberment -- are they related? The case takes Fiona and her boss Inspector Watkins off on several other tangents including illegal arms dealing. The reader needs to pay close attention to all the details as the investigation probes many angles and Fiona experiences several harrowing incidents, including an attempt on her life.
Still unsolved is the central mystery -- who is Fiona Griffiths and where did she come from? She suffers from a rare mental disease but is getting better. But the book still leaves a lot of loose ends and her character is not as fully developed as she seems to be a cross of several other memorable "off" characters in recent crime fiction. The people around her and with whom she is involved don't really get much fleshing out and seem one-dimensional: the loving boyfriend, the boss who likes her, the dad with a gangster-like past.
Not sure I'll move on to another book in the series, but definitely Fiona is a complex character with lots of room to grow.
Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Bantam Dell for the ebook ARC to review.