Category: Murder, Crime Fiction, Thriller, Psychological, Book Review
Henry and Caroline Redfearne’s annual ball is the hottest social event of the year.
But the fun is cut short by the discovery of their son’s body, apparently the victim of a frenzied assault. He was last seen heading off with 17-year-old Sophie Blackwood, and a blood trail seems to show that Sophie has been kidnapped.
Dani Stephens is still coping with a traumatic brain injury—the consequence of her serial killer brother’s attack. Her personality changed in the aftermath, leaving her prone to mood swings and impatience but she is slowly improving and her concentration is better. That is until her brother intrudes in her present case.
Sophie Blackwood is waitressing at wealthy couple Henry and Caroline Redfearne’s notorious annual summer ball. The salary was worth the hassle though and Sophie had her own way of dealing with it. The Redfearne’s son, Oliver, rescued her from one encounter and they walked to a beauty spot in the grounds of the estate. The following morning Dani was called in when Oliver was found brutally murdered and Sophie missing. A earring and a blood trail were found at the scene. Then a second brutal murder took place.
Ben, Dani’s twin, wants her to visit him in prison. Although extremely reluctant to do so, Dani has to investigate his claims that he has knowledge about the murders. Ben is desperate for some contact with his ex wife, who he also attacked, and their children and offers information in return for Dani’s help in securing visits.
“Daley said we needed to speak urgently,’ Dani said, already riled not just by the false pretence but by Ben’s apparent nonchalance to it. ‘He said you had confidential information you would pass only to me.’
‘Dani, I’ve not seen you for the best part of—what? twenty months. Not since—‘
‘I’m well aware how long it’s been.’
The Rules of Murder is told from the perspectives of Dani, with intermittent short chapters from the killer, who is identified quite quickly. I wasn’t totally convinced by these segments, I’m not sure why and, of course, I have no idea how someone with obvious psychotic issues would plan and carry out murders. Talking of the murders, there are some really gruesome scenes in the book which were a bit too much for me.
Apart from that, I enjoyed the thriller aspect of the story very much, the race against time as the team try to catch the elusive perpetrator as well as find the still missing Sophie—they don’t know whether she is alive or dead. The psychological thread, as Ben tries to manipulate Dani into giving him what he wants in return for information adds another layer. Dani’s relationship with Ben can’t be anything but complex and she still has no knowledge about why Ben snapped and did what he did. Ben refuses to talk about it, frustrating her further.
It’s a very fast moving, action packed plot, well written with characters that are becoming more developed. Dani and her ex policeman boyfriend, Jason, are in a stable relationship, giving glimpses into her personal life. Jason has always supported her, and even when Dani did everything to push him away he didn’t give up. Dani is a sympathetic character fighting to get her life back on track.
Not all the threads are tied up, leaving scope for the next book.
I chose to read and review The Rules of Murder based on a copy of the book supplied by Canelo Publishing 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.