Mercy Killing

Written by Lisa Cutts

Review written by Sue Lord


Mercy Killing
Simon & Schuster
RRP: £7.99
Released: October 20 2016
PBK

Albie Woodville was a sex offender. He is now dead. Albie was murdered. Is this a ‘one off’ crime or will there be more? The police officers at East Rise incident room spring into action; though are not sympathetic to the death of a paedophile, but they must treat this case like any other murder.

Albie lived in a flat overlooking a school playground and he had a girlfriend, the Widow Millie Hanson who is the mother of two small children. There are a plethora of characters in this story; too many policemen and far too many suspects. Millie has a brother Ian; was it him and his friend Dave [Millie’s carer] who killed Albie? Then there are the two mates, Jude Watson and Jonathon Tey, also suspects. Then there are friends Leon Edwards and Toby Carvell, also suspects. So we have three sets of suspects; young men who could have killed Albie, or was it something to do with Martha Lipton who heads ‘The Volunteer’ army? And more disturbingly, does the reader care?

The book tracks the police investigation, with pace that could be described as slow and methodical. I now know why the police are sometimes unkindly referred to as “Plod”, as the plot plods-along with no twists or surprises. I really cannot describe it as well-crafted either, for the reader can work out who ‘did it’ very early on.

There are far too many characters in the narrative and they are not well delineated, making it very hard going for the reader trying to make sense of the investigation. The police team, headed by DI Harry Powell appear on the wrong side of convention, veering over onto cliché. The secondary characters like the main players are equally vaguely sketched, making it hard to feel any empathy toward any of them.

The six young men who could have killed Albie are so alike; they merge in the mind making it hard for the reader to feel anything for them. Overall, I felt the book lacked something intrinsic – a spark.

Lisa Cutts is a new name for me, so despite the issues raised in Mercy Killing, I shall begin another to see if it has the spark that a good crime fiction novel needs, and one that is lacking here.

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