On New Year’s Day, a wealthy family is found slaughtered inside their exclusive gated community in north London, their youngest child stolen away.
The murder weapon – a gun for stunning cattle before they are butchered – leads Detective Max Wolfe to a dusty corner of Scotland Yard’s Black Museum devoted to a killer who thirty years ago was known as the Slaughter Man.
But the Slaughter Man has done his time, and is now old and dying. Can he really be back in the game?
And was the murder of a happy family a mindless killing spree, a grotesque homage by a copycat killer – or a contract hit designed to frame a dying man?
All Max knows is that he needs to find the missing child and stop the killer before he destroys another innocent family – or finds his way to his own front door …
Having enjoyed the first in the Max Wolfe series, The Murder Bag, I was pleased to be offered the second installment ARC via Netgalley; but being a bit behind on my review books I just got to this recently. Bad book blogger! So was good for me that I recently had the opportunity to read this book in a day – a combination of not much on, a train journey and a good story, not done this in a very long time; if ever!
I liked this time around that we get more of a developing relationship between Max and his daughter Scout and see his vulnerability as a single parent and having to deal with the out of school care etc along with managing a full time career with less than sociable hours. I do really like Max’s character, he comes across as a nice guy, trying to do his best by all but for one reason or another just not quite reaching 100%.
That said, Wolfe makes some very questionable decisions in terms of his own personal safety and that of the team. He clearly wasn’t thinking of the consequences when he leads a team into a property where several dangerous suspects are expected to be without any kind of backup; that was never going to end well. I question would that actually happen? And…who is actually in charge of the investigation because detectives of a higher rank and everyone else seem to defer to Wolfe and his theories.
You’ll find quite a lot of police terminology throughout which Wolfe explains to the reader as if reminding himself. I don’t mind this so much but it does detract your reading slightly from the story but I appreciate its relevance. There’s also quite a few visits again to the Black Museum but this does come across as fascinating archive and resource so I don’t mind hearing about that.
There’s plenty of twists and turns to keep you turning the pages but do bear in mind this book has themes of child abduction and child abuse with some quite vicious and violent scenes which some readers might not like.
Overall, a good crime drama and I will be interested to read the third book. I would advise you to read the first in the series although this can be read as a standalone.
Connect with the author Tony Parsons