O'Connor, Niamh - 'If I Never See You Again'
Jo Birmingham is a single mother of two and a detective superintendent who has recently been promoted in the Dublin Force. She is struggling to maintain the right work-life balance which is not helped by her failed marriage and the fact that her ex-husband is her immediate boss. She has two young sons at home and she struggles to be a good parent against the demands of her job.
A spate of brutal killings are occurring in which each one is more severe than the previous one with body parts missing, and it becomes apparent that the killer is torturing his victims before striking the final blow. Who will be next? The press get to hear about it and a panic in the city is started as it becomes apparent that a serial killer is at work.
Jo Birmingham is in overall charge with some very difficult issues to contain - not least is the pressure from above to reach a speedy solution to satisfy public concern. She isn't helped by some poor detective work from one on her team, whom she suspects is feeding information to the press.
The panic in the city to the killings, is exaggerated by the fears the public has to the huge amount of violence that is is gradually becoming much worse which each successive incident. The pressure to uncover fresh leads and new evidence no matter how slim, becomes paramount to satisfy the hunger the public has for a end to its fears which are being ratcheted up by the mischievous press.
There are some false leads that have to be investigated, principally concerning the identity of the police detective who is providing vital clues to the media. Also, how is the killer choosing his victims? But soon, Jo finds that the killer is after her.
This was a very finely plotted, first novel by an ace crime reporter for the Sunday World, Ireland's largest selling Sunday newspaper. Jo Birmingham is a very well crafted new police detective and the author has created a very good police procedural of the finest quality with a really interesting set of characters. Jo's home life is almost as interesting as her work experience. I hope that we get the opportunity to read more books with these characters and that Niamh O'Connor has a lot of success with this one as she deserves the public's appreciation for a fine piece of writing, which, incidentally, kept me up late at night.
Read another review of IF I NEVER SEE YOU AGAIN.
Terry Halligan, England