I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
Christmas is coming. One body at a time. Three weeks before Christmas: Sunday, one a.m. A woman is drowned in her bathtub. One week later: Sunday, one a.m. A woman is beaten savagely to death, every bone in her body broken. Another week brings another victim.
As panic spreads across London, DCI Antonia Hawkins, leading her first murder investigation, must stop a cold, careful killer whose twisted motives can only be guessed at, before the next body is found. On Sunday. When the clock strikes one . .
Somehow this murder mystery didn’t grab me the way some of them do. I started it in late December, but then had a long hiatus until finishing it in early January. It’s a solid enough story, with enough red herrings to keep me from being positive who dunnit until close to the end of the book.
My problem was that I didn’t really connect with the main character, Antonia Hawkins. She seemed to me to be rather thin-skinned and inept for someone who had risen as high in the ranks as she had. And I really disliked her tendency to mix her work and private life indiscriminately. I know that it can be hard to keep those lines from blurring, but Tonia seemed to just heave herself precipitously back into a work relationship with no self-reflection at all. And there’s far more snotty weeping that I care for in a main female character!
Nevertheless, it’s not a bad book and was certainly appropriate for the Christmas season. A few good murders keep the holiday from getting too saccharine sweet.