Elemental rage, bloody Greek myth, man’s greed and capacity for cruelty, the insane imaginings of a killer, all intermingle in this stunning new thriller from the bestselling author of Messiah to create a novel of stunning ferocity.
A storm-tossed crossing on the North Sea; a catastrophic ferry accident; hundreds dead. Detective Chief Inspector Kate Beauchamp is one of the survivors but her ferocious fight to stay alive brings with it a high cost: a burden of guilt that she should live while some of her friends died; a terror of water; a frozen inner core that never seems to melt.
When the body of a young female journalist is found in Aberdeen soon after the disaster, Kate insists on conducting the investigation – partly to exorcize her own demons, partly because she feels a strange affinity with the victim. The killing is peculiarly brutal and the murderer has left a unique calling card: attached to the woman’s neck is a poisonous snake.
Into this emotional cauldron steps the last man on earth Kate wants to see – her estranged father, Frank, in Aberdeen to conduct the marine inquiry into the sinking. Was the disaster the result of a bomb, as claimed by the ferry-line’s chairman, or is he trying to hide something?
In a sweltering heatwave, Kate and Frank conduct their highly pressured investigations. But for both of them, danger is approaching fast – a vortex of violence which will sweep them up and endanger their very lives.
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Boris Starling's accomplished and harrowing second novel begins with a North Sea storm that causes a catastrophic ferry accident. Amongst the handful of survivors is Kate Beauchamp an off duty DCI who was planning a trip to Bergen with her Amateur dramatics society. A variety of figurative storms brew in the aftermath--the anger and alienation between Kate and her father, the torment of a tortured mind expressed through hideous violence, a corporate conspiracy--each leading to an eventual vortex that is both merciless and startling. It is Starling's expert rendering of these storms that provides an enticing core, as the action builds to a thrilling crescendo, which is marked by paranoia and desperation.
As DCI Kate Beauchamp conducts her investigation into vicious serial killings in the shadow of her recent trauma, an unexpected reunion with her estranged father (investigating the sinking) adds a welcome emotional frisson in to what could have been a standard murder mystery. This is reinforced as Starling probes the mind of Beauchamp's tortured quarry. This is no faceless madman, "Blackadder" is a tragic product of his own storm: he projects his pain through Greek Tragedies, with his victims as tempting Furies. In Beauchamp, Starling has fashioned a detective whose effectiveness lies in her unceasing drive and her incisive understanding of the criminal psyche:
If there were no consequences to be afraid of, then everybody would not only be evil, they would act evil. The only difference between us and [the killer] is that he is not sufficiently afraid of the consequences to stop himself.Fast-paced and delivering gripping tension with excellent orchestration, Starling offers a magnificent tale that is conducted with grace and depth. --Danny Graydon Review:
Praise for Messiah:
‘Fast-paced, gritty… deserves nothing but praise’
‘Grips from the first page and doesn’t let go. It’s a grimly, frighteningly good read’
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 6512054