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The Killing Year

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Member Reviews

Excellent story line which was gripping from start to finish. Great characters.  I would highly recommend this book.
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4 and 1 / 2 stars

DCS Marc Craig and DCI Liam Cullen are called out to the scene of two bodies. Craig immediately sees that the CSI on the case has moved the bodies. She is new, but that is no excuse. Craig is furious. The bodies reek of alcohol and their superglued eyes have been closed. One of the officers at the scene immediately recognizes the woman as a newsreader on the television. The man’s identity remains unknown. 

Before long, this new case ties in with nine previous killings all over Ireland covering a period of the previous nine months or so. The Chief Constable tells Craig he and his Belfast Murder Squad is to take over the entire investigation. The team gets together and discusses the similarities between the cases. 
While the victims all died of acute alcohol poisoning, the exact cause of death is unknown. 

A detailed and painstaking investigation follows. This is one that is wrought with personal clashes and hand-wringing. Step by step, Craig’s team closes in on the killer. This is a unique killer for the team. This is a very smart, savvy serial killer who will stop at nothing to achieve their aims. The killer is well informed about forensic technique and has more than a little fortune in evading the police. 

This is a well-paced novel, with the clues eked out slowly to tantalize the reader. It is very well written and plotted, as are all of Catriona King’s books. I enjoy her asides with the personal journeys of the major characters, whether home life or professional. I like the way the team relates to one another and there is much teasing going on in Ms. King’s books. There is sufficient background given about the team and their mates and partners to flesh them out, but not so much that it intrudes on the story. In fact, it adds to the richness of the prose and makes the characters more human. Well done, Ms. King! Keep writing, and I’ll keep reading! 

I want to thank NetGalley and Hamilton-Crean Publishing for forwarding to me a copy of this great book to read, enjoy and review.
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I would like to thank Netgalley and Gingersnap Books for a review copy of the Killing Year, the seventeenth police procedural in the Marc Craig series set in Belfast.

When a man and woman are found dead with their bodies posed in a puzzling position the Chief Constable has had enough and instructs Chief Superintendent Marc Craig and the Belfast murder team to investigate this murder and all the previous ones from the past year which until then had been handled case by case by local squads.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Killing Year which is another fine addition to a very readable series. I have read the first ten novels in the series but was happy to jump to this one when the opportunity arose as they all work well as stand alones. 

With its mixture of serial killer investigation and inter personal relationships, whether romantic or workplace, there is something addictive about Ms King's formula and I found it impossible to put the book down. I don't imagine the plot is particularly realistic but it is very well done with great twists and an unexpected perpetrator with an age old motive, although both are well concealed and unclear until the denouement. I love a good puzzle. It has a straightforward third person narrative and a linear timeline so it's not difficult to follow so the only thing I could possibly take issue with is the shifting point of view. Mostly it works well and is not overly intrusive and distracting as in some novels but the glimpses of the unnamed killer's mindset and actions are of varying value.

I enjoy the non investigative atmosphere that Ms King creates. The banter between the characters is amusing and offers a little light relief in a gruesome investigation. I like the support between the team members and their squabbles as it all adds up to a very realistic office environment. It's the little things like Ash radically changing his dress style, making them all wonder if he has a new girlfriend. It makes for a more complete read.

In every novel Ms King explores problems in one of the team's lives. In this case it is Dr John Winter and his adaptation to fatherhood. I'm not going to say much about it as I don't want to spoil the read but some of it is funny and some of it is sad, notably because it all smacks so much of first world problems.

The Killing Year is a great read which I have no hesitation in recommending.  4.5*
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The Belfast Murder Squad takes on a new case when a couple is found dead in an area of natural beauty. Is the murder linked to something that happened years ago? And what does the way the couple were killed say about the murderer? I really like and respect this series, it’s an accurate portrayal of police procedures and the characters have grown throughout the years. They have developed quirks and friendships just like real people would. The series is also “visually stunning”, in that King paints a vivid portrait of her books settings
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