Dead Connection

Written by Alafair Burke

Review written by LJ Hurst

Initially, L. J. Hurst worked in the backrooms of the media industry. He now divides his time between work for an international scientific publisher and a rather more British independent bookseller. In years past he was a regular attendee at the Shots on the Page Festivals from whence Shots Mag sprung

Dead Connection
RRP: £7.99
Released: October 2, 2014

Dead Connection launched Alafair Burke's career in the UK: the first of her Ellie Hatcher thrillers, set in New York, it was part of Orion's First Blood titles.

Without the copy I reviewed in 2007 I can't do an exact comparison but there is a chance that the book has been slightly revised to keep its contemporaneity by ensuring that its computer references are up to date.

I liked the book then: I think I have enjoyed it more this second time and that is because I have noticed that Burke keeps the attention on Ellie Hatcher, young detective, just transferred to a murder investigation for the first quarter of the book, and then slips in another point of view. As Hatcher discovers that she and her partner are dealing with a serial killer we wonder if that point of view is that of the killer: then it becomes clear that it is not, but still the new observer is not amiable to Hatcher's position. Later the killer will identify another victim, and the killer will start to send misleading messages to the police and the newspapers, and we will watch over the killer's shoulder, just for a moment, as he or she strikes again. It builds suspense, knitting braids from the battle of wits as the book progresses.

It is not a perfect book, as some of the changes in POV come with dumps of information which slow things down, and the final scenes of violent confusion as the police establishment propose a cover-up to maintain their reputations, serve to blur the infamy of the mastermind killer (something else I thought back in 2007), so that Hatcher's success is not as notable as it might be. Nevertheless, as police procedurals and thrilling plots go, this is above average.

There are now five books in the Ellie Hatcher series; the latest All Day And A Night appeared in July. Read Ayo Onatade's interview with Alafair Burke to find out more.

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