Elena Forbes

Quercus £12.99 trade paperback

Released: 29th July 2010

Reviewer: Sara Townsend


Sara-Jayne Townsend is a published crime and horror writer and likes books in which someone dies horribly. She is founder and Chair Person of the T Party Writersí Group.


Best-selling novelist Joe Logan is found murdered in a disused Victorian crypt in Brompton Cemetery.  Detective Inspector Mark Tartaglia investigates.  Before long, the body of another man is found Ė killed in an identical manner.  DI Tartaglia must discover the connection between the two victims before the killer strikes again. 

Perhaps it was because this book is about a murdered writer (a subject too close for comfort) but it drew me in from the beginning.  As Tartaglia probes deeper, the plot becomes even more intriguing.  Joe Loganís best-selling book is about five university friends who try to cover up the accidental drowning of a young girl.  When the second victim is revealed to have a connection to Logan, Tartaglia begins to wonder:  just how much of Loganís novel was based on fact, and does it have a connection to his death? 

It becomes clear fairly early on that the killer is targeting this group of former university friends because of the secret they have been hiding all these years.  But the identity of the killer kept me guessing Ė in fact, I didnít work it out until the police did.  The book is tightly plotted and atmospheric Ė the creepiness of Brompton Cemetery really comes across.  Mark Tartaglia is a likeable character.  Heís a flawed hero, certainly, but that only makes him more real, and the relationship he has with his co-worker Sam Donovan is dynamic and highly charged.  Thereís clearly a chemistry there, and as these are two single people who work together in a position of trust in stressful situations, thereís plenty of opportunity for the sexual tension to develop in future books. 

Evil in Return is the third book featuring Mark Tartaglia, but you donít have to have read the first two to enjoy this one.  Itís an engrossing read, and I would thoroughly recommend it.






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