The Killing Room by Richard Montanari

The Killing Room by Richard Montanari (Sphere)

“One God. Seven churches. You will find the first of the dead at Amber and Cumberland.”

This is the message that sets detective Jessica Balzano and her partner Kevin Byrne on a grim pilgrimage in search of a ruthless killer.

The first victim is a young man – once cop, now junkie who is found wrapped in sharpened barbed wire in the basement of an abandoned church. 

The murders continue and all are horrifyingly inventive and almost ritualistic. All the bodies are found in abandoned churches and clues are left at all the crime scenes.

The city is Philadelphia and it’s the middle of winter. While chasing this killer, Byrne is reaching out to a troubled boy who is in danger of getting involved with the underbelly of Philly’s gang activities. The relationship is tense and touching.

The book is moody and full of scary Biblical imagery. And much like the city it’s based in, it is filled with strong Catholic undertones.

There is a very subtle supernatural flavour throughout the book that adds extra mystery and intrigue.

Combine this with a back story about abuse, evangelical preachers and runaway children and it’s not hard to see why this novel is such a page turner.

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