Book review: Death Message by Kate London

5/5 stars

Audible version, narrated by Antonia Beamish

Animal lover/HSP warning: There are a few scenes in the book where something bad happens to a dog, and while it was heartbreaking it wasn’t overly detailed and there was no torture, so I found I could bear it.

So, I loved this. It’s really well-written, it’s exciting, it’s believable and not over the top. For me it struck the perfect crime novel balance. Kate London is a former police officer, and it shows. Her detailed descriptions of the inner workings of the police both when it comes to procedure and politics add another dimension to this work that just makes it ring true.

The characters are interesting and seem real and relatable and the side characters add great colour, though I’d have liked even a little more background (bearing in mind that I have not read the first book).

The story follows two policewomen: DS Sarah Collins who is just starting a new job, and PC Lizzie Griffiths. The two women were previously involved in a difficult case together, which resulted in the death of a police officer (presumably this is the story covered in the first book).

The two women’s lives are again woven together by a new case that starts as domestic violence but develops into suspected murder and kidnapping. In addition to this current case, Sarah is also tasked with looking into a cold case: the disappearance of Tania Mills in 1987 – the day after the big storm. Tania was never seen again, though her mother still holds out hope that she could be alive out there somewhere, 20 years later.

The current case has the excitement because it affects people’s lives right here and now, and the cold case has the mystery and whodunnit aspect, so you get a bit of everything a good crime novel should encompass in this one. And the story weaves effortlessly between both cases and the perspectives of both women.

The only thing I found odd, writing-wise, was that there were two more chapters after the epilogue. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with an epilogue where that wasn’t the last part – so that kind of threw me off as I was expecting it to be the end.

I went through both nail-biting excitement, horror, disgust, curiosity and relief with this one. It’s a great story, a well-written and detailed police procedural and the it is quite sound and doesn’t have a “deus ex machina, he was just crazy all along and there’s no real reason for any of this” type of resolution.

I would definitely recommend, and I will absolutely pick up the next one.



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