Category: Crime, Thriller, Police Procedural, Book Review
He’s your attacker.
He’s a murderer.
He’s your twin.
When DI Dani Stephens returns to work after an attack that almost ended her life, she’s quickly plunged into a horrific new case, as dead bodies are discovered on the streets of Birmingham.
But with no link between the victims, Dani has to get inside the killer’s mind – so turns to the murderer she knows best. Her own twin brother…
After two years recovering from a vicious attack by her twin brother that almost killed her and left with a traumatic brain injury and visible scars, DI Dani Stephens has returned to work. It has been a long, hard road to to reach this point and, much as she wants to get back to some sort of normality, she’s feeling anxious. The injury has changed her, she isn’t the same person she used to be.
Spread throughout the story are extracts from her diary, charting Dani’s rehabilitation and fight to regain her physical and emotional health. Although she has made great progress there are long term consequences, and she still sometimes needs a cocktail of drugs to function normally. She desperately wants to prove she’s up to the job, but is unsure of herself and her ability to cope.
On her first day back Dani is assigned to a murder investigation. An unidentified woman had been found stabbed to death, also with surface wounds which suggested she’d been bound and held prisoner.
’She’d been tied up,’ Dani said. A statement. She’s already known about those marks which were the key reason why she’d asked for a pathologist in the first place. She held back the rising nausea at the thought of the poor woman’s ordeal.
While trying to identify the victim, Dani realises how many young women have disappeared and are still unaccounted for. She suspects a serial killer but there are no obvious links, and no-one else of the same mind. As a last resort, Dani visits her brother to see if she could gain any insight into the mind of a killer. She desperately needs a breakthrough in the case.
The course of the investigation brings Dani into contact with Professor Steven Grant, a lecturer in Criminology who himself was abducted and tortured by a serial killer many years ago. This terrible experience resulted in him writing a book which became a best seller.
The story follows on from Dark Fragments but is easily read as a stand alone. The narrative is paced steadily, with a lot of emphasis on Dani’s traumatic previous two years and her interactions with old and new colleagues, which does take away a little from the investigation itself but at the same time adds a new dimension. There’s still a well written police procedural element with a well crafted and dark plot, some surprise twists and a protagonist you can root for. A promising start to a new series.
I chose to read and review The Essence of Evil based on an advance reader copy of the book kindly supplied by the author/publisher via NetGalley.
Rob is the author of the critically acclaimed and bestselling Enemy series and James Ryker series of espionage thrillers. He worked for nearly 13 years for a global accounting firm after graduating from The University of Nottingham in 2002, specialising in forensic fraud investigations at both national and international levels. Rob now writes full time. Originally from the North East of England, Rob has lived and worked in a number of fast paced cities, including New York, and is now settled in the West Midlands with his wife and young sons.