Another mammoth read from Martina and another - in my opinion - five star book. An unputdownable read that I have just spent the last two hours finishing, and that's the thing about Martina's books. They keep you reading long into the night, 1.30am to be precise.
I was looking forward to this book because readers often name it as one of her best books, and so far it is one of the best books of hers that I've read. The story focuses on the Grantley Ripper, DI Kate Burrows and Patrick Kelly who is brought into the story when the Ripper murders his daughter Mandy.
The Grantley Ripper is George Markham and this is made known to the reader at the start of the book. I had trouble with this character, some reviews have said that even though he was a murderer he was still a likeable character but after reading the book I have no idea how anyone can say this. Readers will look at George in one of two ways; blame psychology and blame his mother for his upbringing and abuse and say that is the reason for the way he turned out as an adult or just say that he's evil and his upbringing doesn't matter. After all plenty of people are abused as children and don't turn into murderers years later. I think George was a vile character with no likeable qualities whatsoever. I've read many crime fiction books, many true crime stories but the character of George was one of the worst I've ever read. Some of the things he did were horrific and the dead baby was just awful and probably not necessary. I thought my wide range of crime fiction reading left me immune to feeling squeamish etc but I guess I was wrong.
As for the other characters I liked Kate and Patrick and the relationship they have and know that this is carried on in other books which I will eventually read. Overall though it was an excellent read, it flowed really well and, as you expect from Martina is not just a rushed story, but one full of history and detail. Whilst what happened to George was terrible, there's no excuse for the way he acted and the murders he carried out and, forgive me for saying it but I was disappointed that George didn't kill his mother, another absolutely disgustingly vile character with no redeeming features whatsoever. Despite the book being set in Essex, a Google search doesn't show anywhere named Grantley so did Martina fictionalise this place because of how horrific some of the scenes were? This certainly isn't a book for the faint hearted that's for sure.