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Death Do Us Part by Steven Dunne. Book Review

April 27, 2016

Death do us part

DI Brook is supposed to be on leave and using the time to mend bridges with his daughter. This is far from easy given both their histories. But he doesn’t spend long away from work, because he is called to help out with a local murder where an elderly couple has been killed with a single shot. It is a murder that has a familiar ring to it because a gay couple has been killed under similar circumstances in the previous month.

Death Do Us Part begins in the thick of the action and tension, with the aftermath of the crime scene following quickly on its heels. This is the sixth outing of DI Brook and I am beginning to think that Steven Dunne is the chess player’s crime novelist. This is not a lazy read and requires the same attention to detail that Brook gives his cases, in order to be rewarded by spotting the slippery way that subtle clues might get away from the other detectives but, almost always, not from Brook.

This is more than your standard police procedural because, bit by bit, Brook eases into the heads of the killers and is quite prepared to set a trap for them. Although even he can be so focused as to be blind-sided, which does add a certain frisson and a ‘look behind you’ element to the books.

Small observations are deftly delivered and woven smoothly into the story, as are the forensic descriptions and explanations. Nothing is as it seems. But no detail is too small for Brook and he is like a hound that, once on the scent, is not going to let go until he has caught his quarry. As the novel progresses the clues and red herrings mount up, as the does the tension in preparation for the denouement.

Brook is described as unstable but is in fact remarkably high functioning, although I suspect that he revels in the extreme situations, and he may be closer psychologically to the perpetrators of the crimes he investigates than he would like to think. Add his daughter into the mix and although Brook might not have the smoothest of rides when it comes to parenting, if her safety is compromised he shifts up a gear.

That Brook is not averse to resorting to tactics that collar his villain has already been signalled in a previous novel, and there is a sense he is keeping something rather dangerous bottled up, which makes future stories worth waiting for.

Death Do Us Part was courtesy of Headline via NetGalley

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