Albie Woodville was a
sex offender. He is now dead. Albie was murdered. Is this a ‘one off’ crime or
will there be more? The police officers at East Rise incident room spring into
action; though are not sympathetic to the death of a paedophile, but they must
treat this case like any other murder.
Albie lived in a flat
overlooking a school playground and he had a girlfriend, the Widow Millie
Hanson who is the mother of two small children. There are a plethora of
characters in this story; too many policemen and far too many suspects. Millie
has a brother Ian; was it him and his friend Dave [Millie’s carer] who killed
Albie? Then there are the two mates, Jude Watson and Jonathon Tey, also
suspects. Then there are friends Leon Edwards and Toby Carvell, also suspects.
So we have three sets of suspects; young men who could have killed Albie, or
was it something to do with Martha Lipton who heads ‘The Volunteer’ army? And
more disturbingly, does the reader care?
The book tracks the police
investigation, with pace that could be described as slow and methodical. I now
know why the police are sometimes unkindly referred to as “Plod”, as the plot
plods-along with no twists or surprises. I really cannot describe it as
well-crafted either, for the reader can work out who ‘did it’ very early on.
There are far too many
characters in the narrative and they are not well delineated, making it very
hard going for the reader trying to make sense of the investigation. The police
team, headed by DI Harry Powell appear on the wrong side of convention, veering
over onto cliché. The secondary characters like the main players are equally
vaguely sketched, making it hard to feel any empathy toward any of them.
The six young men who could
have killed Albie are so alike; they merge in the mind making it hard for the
reader to feel anything for them. Overall, I felt the book lacked something
intrinsic – a spark.
Lisa Cutts is a new name for
me, so despite the issues raised in Mercy Killing, I shall begin another to see
if it has the spark that a good crime fiction novel needs, and one that is