Gripping forensic thriller

2011-02-16 00:00

THE Calling of the Grave finds Dr David Hunter, author Simon Beckett’s regular forensic expert, called in to help identify a body found buried in a shallow grave in a remote part of Dartmoor.

All the evidence for the crime points towards Jerome Monk, a psychotic, freakishly strong suspected serial killer who has already been arrested and jailed for the murder of two other young women. The case against him becomes even stronger when Monk unexpectedly agrees to show the police where he buried the other bodies but the search rapidly degenerates into a fiasco when he attempts to flee without revealing anything.

Eight years after these events, news reaches Dr Hunter that Monk has managed to escape from prison and is hell-bent on getting even with those who put him there. At the request of a former colleague, forensic anthropologist Sophie Keller, he reluctantly agrees to return to Dartmoor.

Forced to delve once more into the circumstances leading up to the three murders he begins to realise the case was not as straightforward as it looked.

As he tries to disentangle what really happened and find out who actually is to blame he also finds himself having to protect Sophie from a deranged stalker who may or may not be Monk.

Beckett organises his material with impressive skill, the plotting is enjoyably fluent with some well-concealed twists. Poised and steady-handed, this is a gripping piece of crime fiction.

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