Those of you who have been following my blog and reading adventures for a while will know that I’m no stranger to Helen Fields’s work. I’ve reviewed several books in the DI Callanach series, so naturally Perfect Crime was going to get reviewed too.
Perfect Crime is the fifth book in the DI Callanach series, and whilst I recommend reading the other four because they’re good books, you can read Perfect Crime or any of the ‘Perfect’ series by themselves.
It all depends on whether you like to know all of the ins and outs of characters going into a story, or if you’re fine with a surface-level exploration. Unsurprisingly, with Perfect Crime being the fifth in a series, we’ve got some pretty well established characters. Just saying it’s your call, but you won’t be stumped if you jump straight in here.
Now, on to the book!
We open with Stephen Berry (not a long term character don’t worry) as he is preparing to jump off a bridge and end his life. Luckily for him a councillor literally talks him away from the edge at the last minute.
All seems good, except that a week later Stephen Berry’s body is found at the bottom of a pretty steep drop, a cliff of sorts. Either way, it’s implied he had amassive fall and, as a result, extreme blunt force trauma from impacting with the ground at speed. Naturally because of the previous week’s incident, the police figure that he succeeding in killing himself.
” ‘We’re simply trained to do the very best we can. If we took responsibility for everyone we came into contact with…’ “
However, in quick succession, more bodies are found around Edinburgh. All apparent suicides. But when the cops dig a little deeper all the victims have the same things in common: all have histories of depression and all have attempted suicide at one point or another.
Now because of the links, and the nature of the links, the police have to figure out whether these bodies are a result of suicide or murder, especially as each body is found in more and more gruesome circumstances.
Obviously this is a crime fiction novel, so it’s not exactly a spoiler to say it’s murder. Duh.
But what we don’t know is why the killer is seemingly only targeting mentally vulnerable people, what his motives are, how he’s picking his victims and howhe’s going to be stopped.
Enter a bunch of familiar faces, Luc, Ava and the gang and now the permanent presence of DI Pax Graham as they try to solve the case.
We get a lot more of DS Overbeck in Perfect Crime and honestly she is one of my favourite characters. I loved every scene she was in.
” ‘Did he suffer?’ ‘Not physically.’ “
Unfortunately we also get a lot more of the will-they-won’t-they back and forth flirting between Luc and Ava. Honestly, I could really do without this, but that’s because I’m not the romance genre’s biggest fan and I like my romance and crime fiction separate.
But I can appreciate that this is the ‘Perfect’ series’ unique selling point and there are plenty of people out there who love it. So I’m not holding that against Perfect Crime – but that aspect just isn’t for me and there was a much larger focus on them this time than in any other book in the series and it got tiring for me.
On to the hunt for the killer!
With the story dipping into the personal (Luc/Ava) frequently, it meant that the professional (hunt for the killer) suffered slightly and whilst I wish there was a little bit more suspense, I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t any. There was, I just wish there was more. I think this was also hindered by there being a fair few coincidences that broke a bit of the realism for me.
But there was suspense, especially so if you’re new to the crime genre! I’ve seen too many movies and read a fair bit of crime and police procedurals now, so unfortunately I figured out who the killer was quite quickly (just call me a regular old literary Sherlock Holmes!) but it didn’t take away from my enjoyment.
” ‘Mr Maclure, if I’ve learned anything in the police, it’s that psychopaths always find a way.’ “
Another thing I really enjoyed…the gore. Ya’ll know your girl loves gore and graphic scenes and gross stuff! So I was in my element here! The bodies were great and the descriptions really scratched my itch!
There was plenty of action throughout Perfect Crime to keep the pages turning by themselves and it’s a well-written book.
How much you’re going to like it depends on how you prefer your crime stories. If, like me, you like your crime to lack a romantic element, this book will still be enjoyable, but it’ll miss out on those final stars in your rating system. But if you are either a long-term fan of the ‘Perfect’ series or like ‘crime and insert genre here’ mixes you’ll enjoy this as it’s something different.
If your own little niche is romantic crime then you’ll be in heaven!
“The Crow stared down at the two bodies on the floor. It was a mess, both literally and metaphorically.”
Thanks to Avon for partnering with me and for providing and advanced copy for review.
Your darkest moment is your most vulnerable…
Stephen Berry is about to jump off a bridge until a suicide prevention counsellor stops him. A week later, Stephen is dead. Found at the bottom of a cliff, DI Luc Callanach and DCI Ava Turner are drafted in to investigate whether he jumped or whether he was pushed…
As they dig deeper, more would-be suicides roll in: a woman found dead in a bath; a man violently electrocuted. But these are carefully curated deaths – nothing like the impulsive suicide attempts they’ve been made out to be.
Little do Callanach and Turner know how close their perpetrator is as, across Edinburgh, a violent and psychopathic killer gains more confidence with every life he takes…
Helen Fields is the crime name that EVERYONE needs to know about.
Do you want to find out what the Perfect Crime looks like? You can buy it here with FREE worldwide delivery!
[PLEASE NOTE]: I was not paid or sponsored to write this review – all the opinions are honest and my own.
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