Hatred is such a nasty thing – we all deplore it in others but do not necessarily recognise it in ourselves. At what point does resentment, jealousy, betrayal or humiliation turn into anger and then grow to an all consuming hatred? Hatred can be slow, taking years to fester, or can explode in seconds – it can linger for a lifetime or wither in seconds of its conception.
Inspector Matthew Merry and Sergeant Julie Lukula have to deal with the consequences of violence and murder on a daily basis and in the case of Gerry Driver they both see that hatred is the prime motive. But is it, as Julie thinks, one of a series of hate crimes that has led to this killing? Or, is Matthew right in saying, ‘Driver’s death is undoubtedly a hate filled crime but I’m just not convinced that there are sufficient links to suggest it is part of a pattern of hate crimes.’
Only time and their investigation, which takes as many twists and turns as the Thames does along it course through London and past Wapping Old Stairs, will tell.
‘She was obviously attractive when alive,’ Matthew noted out loud. Her shoulder length, light brown hair was still wet and clung to the woman’s face, exaggerating the finely drawn cheeks and chin. Her thin lips were pulled back slightly, showing a glint of evenly spaced teeth in the residual of a smile. Not a beautiful face, he thought, but a pleasant one denoting a strong character. The body was slim, narrow hips, with long legs. Her breasts where fulsome and still filled her bodice making him wonder if they had been cosmetically enlarged, as the silicon would preserve their shape even while she was supine. Only her feet were overly large for her size and, without shoes, looked out of place. Her whole, otherwise elegant, appearance in a smart blue, knee length dress was marred by bruising around her neck, the signs of strangulation in her face and the greyish blue colouring of her glistening, wet skin.
The inspector recalled studying Geraldine’s face at close quarters and, even after she’d been dead a few hours, there had been no sign of Gerry to give the game away. Such was the persuasiveness of Gerry’s impersonation that he had tricked death into accepting him as Gerald
My Thoughts and Review:
This is my second read by John. I enjoyed this as much as The Fourth Victim.
A woman’s body is dragged from the Thames and Inspector Matthew Merry is called to the scene and what seems to be the body of an attractive young woman is later discovered to be the body of a female impersonator named Geraldine.
As Matthew and his Sergeant Julie Lukula dive deeper into the investigation, they both form different ideas about the motive behind the crime. But one thing they agree on is hatred is the driving force in this crime.
This is a book that takes the reader into the seedier parts of the entertainment business and also the dark places of the City of London itself!
Whilst Merry is investigating the crime he finds himself playing office politics and being accused of sexual harassment and molestation. A charge that sees him being relieved of being in charge of the investigation. Julie meanwhile, having just passed her Inspector’s exam, takes over as chief investigating officer.
Matthew is left wondering what his future is if the charge is found to be true?
A very well written book, which shows the reader that nothing is black or white, but more a murky shade of grey. The characters of Merry and Lukula are particularly well drawn. At first polar opposites, have more in common than they like to admit. Julie is the perfect foil for Merry’s curmudgeon character.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and all opinions are my own.
Author Bio –
John was born in the mid-fifties in East London, on part of the largest council estate ever built, and was the first pupil from his local secondary modern school to attend university. He has now taken early retirement to write, having spent the first part of his life working in education and the public sector. He was the director of a college, a senior school inspector for a local authority, and was head of a unit for young people with physical and mental health needs.
He has travelled extensively, from America to Tibet, and he enjoys visiting the theatre, reading and going to the pub. It is, perhaps, no surprise that he is an avid ‘people watcher’ and loves to find out about people, their lives, culture and history. When he is not travelling, going to the theatre or the pub; he writes.
Many of the occurrences recounted and the characters found in his novels are based on real incidents and people he has come across. Although he has allowed himself a wide degree of poetic licence in writing about the main characters, their motivations and the killings that are depicted.
John is currently working on a series of novels set in modern day London. These police procedurals examine the darker side of modern life in the East End of the city.
Social Media Links –
Amazon author profile: https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B07B8SQ2ZH
Goodreads profile: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17891273.John_Mead
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