Carver, Will - 'The Two'
This second novel by this exciting new author recounts how the protagonist Detective Inspector January David always seems to put his professional life before everything else. He is called to the scene of a horrifying brutal murder and thinking about it later he starts, not surprisingly to have dreams and premonitions about the scene. These hunches, which he is very influenced by, give him the impression that the murders are not the work of just one twisted killer but are in fact the result of two very sick individuals, operating independently of each other, but in a sort of contest.
The murder scene seems always to be located near a London hospital or church and the victims seem to be individuals who are very ill and near death anyway or are rather isolated for one reason or another and is always stylised in a particular format with lighted tea-lights around the body. The death count starts to mount up and the pattern of the deaths seem to coincide with wicca or pagan feast days. So January has to get a wicca expert in for her interpretation of the death scenes. January has two detective sergeants assisting him. One, named Paulson is very able and he trusts very much but the other an individual named Murphy he believes is passing on important information regarding his process of detection to more senior police who will bring it up at some future date.
The book is written in the first person for each character and I found this rather confusing, initially, particularly as each chapter of three or so pages was titled 'January' or 'Celeste' or whatever character was talking, but after six or so chapters in that manner, I got the hang of it. The book goes through the whole year of the killings recounting the interpretation of all the characters whether they are good or evil and then seems to switch the time-line to go back to the beginning and start again but with a fresh look at the characters from a different perspective, which was very unusual.
I enjoyed reading this strange supernatural thriller even more than his first, GIRL 4, which introduced the angst-ridden Inspector January David, and the outcome of which means January is now drinking even more than he did previously. The events described in THE TWO book led me to believe it was going to develop in a particular way but the author had other thoughts and the conclusion was quite a surprise, I can tell you. This author is still very young and this is only his second novel and I'm sure he will write of many more nightmares worse than this one in the future.
Terry Halligan, England
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