Mystery Books for Sale

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by Steve Mosby
Orion, May 2008
320 pages
9.99 GBP
ISBN: 0752874152

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Dave Lewis is the kind of man to avoid if, as he is, you're seeking your one true love via blind dates. He's a morose sort of bloke, with reason his brother was murdered, his parents never got over this, and he's mooning over Tori, his friend and first real love, as they seem to have grown apart.

He's got an unorthodox professional life as well he works as a magician, and he and a mate run a magazine that delights in giving New Age beliefs and the like a good kicking. And then he ends up with the police on his trail.

The basic premise of CRY FOR HELP is a very spooky one a killer is stalking women, abducting them and then, before he kills them, sending emails and text messages to their friends.

Sam Currie is the detective heading the case. He's got his share of past history as well in the form of his wife and son. And when the background to that appears to intersect with the killer, Currie soon takes an interest in Dave.

If you dislike books where the hero goes off at a tangent and where one phone call would probably have extracted him from the mire, then you might want to approach CRY FOR HELP with a certain amount of caution.

That said, it's an efficient and imaginative book that doesn't fit comfortably into any of the boxes there's a touch of the thriller, suspense and police procedural about it. For me, though, it lacks the wow factor, mainly due to the fact the characters don't really leap off the page as fully-rounded creations.

I was also slightly bemused by the setting, which is a UK city. I assumed it was Leeds, but wherever it was, it means the book never quite provides the reader with a strong sense of place. I've come across several of those of late, and it's as if American writers don't want to alienate British readers, and vice versa. Which is actually both annoying and stupid, as half the fun for me of reading crime fiction is being transported to other places.

Come to think of it, the book as a whole has a rather rootless feel to it not helped by Steve Mosby using American ranks for British cops (Officer, Detective, and he also mentions Richmond PD).

So I ended up finding CRY FOR HELP an assured read with some scary moments that falls just short in the character stakes.

Reviewed by Sharon Wheeler, June 2008

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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