David Fine

Tindal Street Press £7.99

Reviewed by Ayo Onatade

David Fine’s debut novel is set in Sheffield – the City of Steel. A murder has taken place and the body that has been found is in a gruesome shape. The victim has been killed in a particularly spectacular and horrible manner.

DI Tilt, who is put in charge of the murder, is not expected to catch the killer. Why should he when we later find out that the victim was a paedophile? One would say he got his just deserts. However, with two battling senior police officers who like to keep matters to themselves, also to contend with things are not going as smoothly as they should and it looks like Tilt will be the one left carrying the can for all the mistakes that happen.

While this is not a fast paced novel, it does have its moments. Fine has made superb use of the locality and the various cultures that are to be found in Sheffield. The inclusion of the Post-Mortem reports, while not overly gruesome, adds a nice touch. The behaviour of one of the senior officers to a more senior officer from a different area leaves a lot to be desired and makes you wonder if all policemen are racist and bigoted. However, The Executioner’s Art is also the type of novel that one has come to associate with the terms, hard-boiled urban noir. At times it makes for uncomfortable reading but that should not put you off. My complaint? I was less than satisfied by the outcome. As a debut novel it is certainly well worth reading.