Written by Steven Dunne
Review written by Philip Gooden
His historical novels include the Nick Revill series, set in Elizabethan London, a Victorian sequence, and a series of Chaucer mysteries, now in in e-books.
Released: 26th April 2012
This the third in a series featuring Detective Inspector Damen Brook and although there’s quite a bit of back referencing to the previous two books Deity works as a stand-alone procedural. Two cases run side by side for most of this Derby-set story: the abduction of several vagrants who turn up dead and deprived of their inner organs apart from the heart, and the disappearance of a group of students from Derby College. The students are all studying film, and their vanishing is linked to Picnic at Hanging Rock. More important, film fragments start to turn up on the internet suggesting that the students are involved in some kind of suicide pact. The question is whether their involvement is voluntary or whether they’re under the control of some psychopathic mastermind. Another is whether the eviscerated tramps and the vanished students are linked. This being a carefully contrived thriller, the answers to both questions aren’t hard to guess. Steven Dunne plays cleverly with expectations - just why would a corpse be stuffed with a loaf of bread? - and provides some effective twists. In fact, I felt that twistiness of the narrative got just a bit too elaborate by the end of a story which at more than 500 pages could have done with some cutting. The author keeps control but there are a lot of balls in the air. The police, especially the detached DI Brook, are sympathetic and even the standard scrap-with-a-senior-officer is done with a fresh eye. Some good subsidiary characters and unusual motivation for the crimes make for an absorbing read.