Saturday, September 23, 2017

Sunday Synopsis

For Reasons Unknown (DCI Matilda Darke, #1)For Reasons Unknown by Michael Wood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is Michael Wood's first crime novel. The story centers around Matilda Darke, Deputy Chief Inspector of a township in England, who has returned from a 9 month leave of absence. Her long absence was due in part to her husband's death, and due in part to her botching a kidnapping case in which the victim was never found. I don't believe the author gave quite enough background information on the husband's death to explain the character's motivations and actions.

When Darke returns to work, she is assigned to work on a 20 year old cold case in which the killer, "for reasons unknown," brutally murdered a power couple leaving their 11 year old son as a witness. It was two days prior to Christmas. They were getting ready for a holiday event. Their oldest son was staying at a friend's house. The 11 year old, Jonathan, was supposed to be getting ready to go. He is sitting at the top of the stairs with blood on his hands when a neighbor eventually checks on the family. The father was stabbed in the back while preparing a speech for the occasion. The mother was stabbed multiple times, front and back, and left in a pool of blood. Only Jonathan was there, and he isn't talking. In fact, he won't speak for over a year.

Darke must go back and put the pieces together to try to solve the cold case. Meanwhile, another brutal murder takes place, and when the deceased is identified, it is clear that the cases are related. But Darke is butting heads with her replacement, and that may get in the way of solving either crime.

Parts of the story were slow moving. There were scenes in the rising action that did not really move the plot forward. Overall, it kept my attention, and I wanted to know what was going to happen. I can't say I was completely surprised at the end, because the author gave clues that led to the mystery being revealed. There was always a little question, as to whether I was using the clues to draw the correct conclusions. Overall, it was a good book, particularly as a debut novel.

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