McCrery, Nigel - 'Still Waters'
STILL WATERS is written by Nigel McCrery the creator of television show "Silent Witness". This book is an intriguing combination of police procedural and psychological thriller giving us an insight into the mind of a serial killer, giving equal chapter space to the hunter and the hunted.
The investigating officer, Detective Inspector Lapslie of the Essex Police is forced to return from sick leave after the body of an old woman is accidentally unearthed by a car crash. He has been off work due to an unusual neurological problem, synaesthaesia, which means that he experiences sounds as tastes, which can occasionally be useful (he finds that lies have a certain tang to them) but more often incapacitating. The serial killer, Violet specialises in befriending lonely elderly ladies, and minimising their contact with the outside world, with a view to poisoning them, concealing their death and then stealing their identities and worldly possessions. Violet moves from town to town, changing her name after each death and searching for new prey.
Both DI Lapslie and Violet feel past memories nagging at their minds as they go about their daily business. DI Lapslie can't quite figure out why the severed fingers of the victim seem familiar, and Violet starts to get flashbacks of faces from her past. As it dawns on DI Lapslie that he is looking for a serial poisoner, he finds that he is hindered in his investigation, allowed only minimal assistance from a rather stroppy Sergeant, Emma, and shadowed by a man driving a mysterious black Lexus. When DI Lapslie's hunt nears Violet's current location, he finds that he encounters opposition from unexpected quarters.
STILL WATERS is an intelligent and enthralling read. Nigel McCrery successfully depicts a convincing female murderess, with a fine grasp for small domestic details. However certain aspects of the book appear slightly unsubtle, and more suited to a television series than a book; the prologue and history of Violet possibly leave too little to the imagination in figuring out her motivation, and the "conspiracy" type element of the book regarding those keeping a careful eye on the investigation detracts from the well-executed basic story.
NB. This book is available in paperback under the title of CORE OF EVIL.
Read another review of STILL WATERS.
Laura Root, England