In January I read The Advent Killer which was the first in a series by Alastair Gunn and which fitted neatly into my theme of crime novels for the month. You can read my review of that book here. For my June theme of series novels I have read the second in the series which is My Bloody Valentine.
The books are police procedural novels featuring Antonia Hawkins, a police officer in the Met who is trying to cling on to a temporary promotion. In the first book Antonia was badly injured by a serial killer and at the beginning of this book she is striving to return to work and establish herself before others take the role she believes to be rightly hers. Antonia is paranoid, although it turns out that others are after her job and she is right to have concerns. I will say, however, that I find the way that she ignores medical advice and all those who love her a bit wearying because she is obviously not fit for work and her pain must surely affect how well she does her job.
Ignoring that little irritation we become involved in a story where a number of people are killed in seemingly unprovoked attacks across the city – the first attack is on Valentine’s Day which gives the book its title. The police have to link the crimes to determine the killer and this is not easy. Antonia is in pain and not sure of the loyalty of all her team and nothing seems to make sense. Can she find the killer ?
The story follows Antonia and her team but also follows the killer and gives snapshots into various other people’s lives and thoughts as well – the significance of these becomes apparent as the book progresses. The final solution to the mystery makes a sort of sense and is consistent with what has gone before but I would have preferred to learn more about the justification for the crimes.
I enjoyed the first book in the series and I actually thought that this one was better. These are not great crime fiction, in my opinion, but they are perfectly readable and I found the last section of this book quite gripping. There appear to be only four books in this series and I shall probably read them all.