The third crime novel I have read in January is what you could call a police procedural novel but is really a serial killer story. Police procedural novels concentrate on the investigation process when a crime (usually murder) is committed and the main characters are within law enforcement. What I call a serial killer novel is one which concentrates a lot on the killer, often describing his/her thought processes and crimes in great detail – it is unusual to identify the serial killer as the hero of the book (although Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter series does that) but their point of view is a major part of the telling of the story. The problem with serial killer novels, in my opinion, is that they often concentrate so much on the gory aspects of the crime that it makes me feel uneasy.
Gallery of the Dead by Chris Carter is one of his series featuring Robert Hunter who is a detective in Los Angeles. He is a very intelligent man with insomnia which means that he doesn’t sleep but he does read a lot. Hunter is part of a specialist unit within the police department which concentrates on serial killer crimes. In this book the killer is displaying the bodies as a work of art and the FBI also becomes involved resulting in a rivalry which gets in the way of the investigation.
These books are a good enough read but not ones that I would reread unlike the first two of my 12 in 12 crime books. I am actually not sure where I got this book from but the purpose of this challenge is to clear my physical to-be-read pile so I have now given this book away and reduced the number that I own by one – I have a long way to go yet !
The story rattles along at a nice pace with lots of red herrings and sudden discoveries. This author, however, has a quirk which is annoying me more and more with every book of his that I read. At the end of each chapter, and there are many because they are short, he ends on a cliff-hanger. For example the detectives might receive a telephone call and be shocked by its contents or open a door and be amazed by what is revealed. You are left with a question while the next chapter picks up another point of view, leaves that also on a cliff-hanger and then returns and resolves the first issue in a third chapter, ending that on a cliff-hanger and so on. It actually becomes very wearing after a while and I forget each time I pick up one of this author’s books that he does this and that it annoys me so much.
If you like a serial killer novel then this series may well be for you but I will try and avoid reading any more because the style irritates me.