Taboo, by Casey Hill (Simon & Schuster, RRP $40):
Husband and wife authors Kevin and Melissa Hill have teamed up to produce what is the first in an expected series of thrillers featuring CSI investigator Reilly Steel.
There seems to be a real taste for these forensic thrillers among murder-mystery fans in both books and on television and, when they work, they are great. However, this one is in the average category rather then great.
Reilly Steel is a California girl with Quantico training and nerves of steel but, as with so many of our cop-style heroes and heroines, she feels the need to make a fresh start in her life to lay some past ghosts to rest. And it is this desire that sends her to Dublin, where she plans to train Irish crime-scene investigators at a new whiz-bang crime lab and enjoy a quiet life.
Of course, that doesn’t happen: a young man and woman are found dead in an apartment. The gunshot wounds suggest a suicide pact but as more bodies are discovered it becomes obvious a brutal serial killer is at work.
Add to the mix city homicide detective Chris Marshall, who is hiding a mystery illness, and you have all the components that make up the standard, good-ish thriller.
The murders themselves are particularly nasty but the mystery wasn’t as mysterious as it should have been and the whole thing felt just a little formulaic.
It is hard to read a book like this without comparing it to the work of that other husband-and-wife writing team, Nicci Gerrard and Sean French, who write under the name Nicci French.
I enjoyed the earlier Nicci French books more than the most recent, and unfortunately Taboo feels more like those more recent offerings. It’s not a bad book, just not as good as many others of this genre out there.
This is the first of an expected four books, with the next instalment due for publication next year. Maybe it will improve as the characters grow.